KUALA LUMPUR: National carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has ordered up to 36 ATR 72-600s from Avions de Transport Regional G.I.E for a combined US$840 million (RM2.6 billion).
The 36 ATRs comprise 20 firm orders and an option for the remaining 16. The deal for 20 firm orders was signed in Toulouse, France, yesterday.
The deal is a follow-up of the memorandum of understanding signed by MAS and Avions de Transport in December 2012, with deliveries starting from mid-2013.
The latest order brings MAS' ATR purchases since 2007 to 42 aircraft.
The airline currently has 22 ATR 72-500s in its fleet, operated by subsidiaries Firefly (12) and MASwings (10).
"The introduction of these aircraft, the first ATR 72-600s selected for the growing Malaysian and regional networks, will reinforce the position of these two subsidiaries in the community markets and key business routes," MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement.
It also reaffirms the MAS group as a major operator of ATRs in Asia.
Ahmad Jauhari said the new ATR 72-600s will enable Firefly and MASwings to further expand their regional offering by adding new routes, frequencies and connectivity to MAS' global network.
Firefly chief executive Ignatius Ong said the new ATR fleet has allowed it to develop a unique high frequency network out of Subang, Penang and Johor Baru.
He added that this greatly benefits Firefly, Malaysian communities and the economy, as well as the rest of the population in the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT).
MASwings chief executive officer Datuk Nawawi Awang said the ATR 72s are efficiently serving Sabah and Sarawak, and the BIMP-Eaga (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines East Asean Growth Area) communities.