Air Botswana on Friday signed a firm order for two ATR 72-600s from ATR, which will be delivered in the fourth quarter of this year. According to defenceweb ATR has confirmed that the order was signed on 13 July. Having operated ATR -500 series aircraft since 1996, the Botswana national flag carrier has been an ATR operator for more than 20 years. Its new aircraft will be configured with a 70-seat, dual class cabin.
The airline currently operates a fleet of three ATR 42-500s and one ATR 72-500. With this deal, the airline will start a progressive replacement of their former turboprop fleet, ATR said.
ATR estimates that there will be the need for over 3 000 turboprops in the next twenty years, with more than 10% of these aircraft destined for Africa & the Middle East and foresees the creation of some 300 new routes.
Defenceweb quoted Air Botswana CEO Agnes Tsholofelo Khunwana saying: “ATR is very reliable and has served us very well for over 20 years. The aircraft are very efficient and generally have favourable economics. Acquiring the new generation ATR 72-600 in a dual class configuration would be our most customer-centric development this year which I am confident, would greatly be embraced by our market.”
ATR Chief Executive Officer Christian Scherer was quoted saying, “Air Botswana’s decision to upgrade their fleet with two ATR 72-600s makes perfect sense in the context of the African market. There are currently around 400 regional passenger aircraft flying in Africa. Many of them will soon need to be replaced to ensure the continuation of regional connectivity. Operators with the ATR-600 series, like Air Botswana, will stand in a class of their own, both economically and in terms of passenger comfort.”