Maldives’ national airline Maldivian will soon take delivery of its first ATR 72-600 turboprop aircraft as part of their plans to phase out their older Bombardier Dash 8s.
So far the airline has ordered one ATR 42-600 and two ATR 72-600s, all of which will feature the new Pratt & Whitney PW127XT. The upgraded engines are capable of running on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), while bringing up a 3% reduction in fuel burn and as much as 20% savings in maintenance due to simplification of the engine systems.
Mohamed Mihad, Managing Director of Maldivian, stated:
“Operating in an environment like the Maldives is a matter of offering quick access to essential services to local communities, contributing to the archipelago’s economic development, boosting tourism – and all of this with sustainability at heart. When flying onboard our latest generation ATR turboprops, our passengers will benefit from the best of both worlds: the convenience and comfort of air travel and the guarantee of the lowest emission regional aircraft on the market.”
ATR Chief Executive Officer Nathalie Tarnaud Laude added:
“ATR aircraft have a proven track record in terms of connecting islands affordably and sustainably in many regions of the world. We will be supporting Maldivian in their sustainable development throughout the years with the latest technology to further enhance their operations whilst fulfilling their sustainability pledges. We are as much committed as Maldivian in contributing to the industry’s net-zero carbon emissions 2050 target.”
This delivery was actually carded to take place some time in October 2022, but delays with manufacturing and supply chain issues led to the aircraft finally leaving Toulouse on January 2, 2023. At publication time, the aircraft was last spotted in Muscat, Oman on its multi-stop ferry ride to Male.
Maldivian was forced to temporarily wet-lease an ATR 72-500 from Swiftair to keep up with the surge in demand for flights between the bigger islands within the Maldives chain. They also needed to provide as much seating capacity to stave off competition from Manta Air and Villa Air, two other Maldivian ATR operators.
Besides modernizing part of its prop fleet, the carrier also has an Airbus A321LR and two A330-200s on order as it plans to expand its global footprint. They plan to target tourism markets in Europe, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
[Featured Photo: ATR]