Malaysia Airlines’ regional subsidiary MASwings today took delivery of its very first ATR 72-600 aircraft. The aircraft was delivered in a handover ceremony held at the ATR’s facilities in Toulouse and was witnessed by Datuk Ik Pahon, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism Sarawak and Chairman of BIMP EAGA - Sarawak Chapter. Malaysia Airlines and ATR inked a deal in late 2012 for the purchase of a total of 36 ATR 72-600s (20 firm orders plus 16 options) to be operated by the airline’s regional subsidiaries, MASwings and Firefly.
Based on the agreement between ATR and Malaysia Airlines, MASwings –which currently operates a fleet of 10 ATR 72-500s-, will introduce 9 ATR 72-600s until 2017, mostly for further expanding its total fleet. The arrival of the new ATR 72-600s, configured with 72 seats, will enable MASwings to increase frequencies and open new routes in its network across East Malaysia, as well as to new exciting destinations across Brunei – Indonesia - Malaysia - The Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) region, including Puerto Princessa in Palawan Island, Philippine, which is scheduled to start operation before year end. This new route will complete MASwings’ plan to link the other three countries in the BIMP-EAGA – Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines with Malaysia, making MASwings a truly community airline for the region.
MASwings business expansion journey does not end with Puerto Princessa. With its above 90% on time performance annually and carried 1.5 million passengers recorded last year, MASwings is confident with the new addition to its fleet, the targeted 2 million passengers this year would be an achievable mission.
These new ATR 72-600s will also enable the airline to provide passengers with even higher standards of service and comfort. The new ATR 72-600s of MASwings are equipped with a stylish and widest new cabin in the turboprop market, named ‘Armonia’, featuring thinner seats, new LED lightening and larger overhead bins by 10%, while providing passengers with additional legroom. The aircraft has the most advanced glass cockpit in the regional aircraft market, specifically developed for ATR by Thales, which includes the latest navigation and communication aid tools.
Commenting on the delivery of the aircraft, Datuk Captain Mohd Nawawi Awang, Chief Executive Officer of MASwings highlighted “the great popularity of the ATR 72s in Borneo, thanks to their ability to link a huge coverage of communities and to contribute to the development of tourism and business, aiming for greater service rendered to our passengers would be made possible as some declared the aircraft as - the best way to travel short distance” He added: “We are pleased to further expand MASwings with aircraft featuring outstanding operational capabilities, while burning up to 50% less fuel than regional jets. The development of the environment is a key point of our strategy of growth, and the ATRs have consolidated themselves as the greenest regional aircraft in the market”.
Filippo Bagnato, Chief Executive Officer of ATR declared: “The arrival of the ATR ‘-600s’ underlines a new step of a partnership which has proven fruitful since we signed our first agreement in late 2007. Since then, MASwings has strongly succeeded in expanding regional aviation across Borneo and strengthening both human and business links. We are pleased of being part of this story”.
MASwings currently operates 140 flights daily connecting the community in Borneo and beyond, while ATR has some 250 aircraft operating in Asia-Pacific in the liveries of more than 50 airlines. In recent years, ATRs have positioned themselves as the preferred regional aircraft for Asian carriers. Since 2005, ATR has booked orders for over 330 firm aircraft in Asia-Pacific, representing two third parts of the total sales of up-to-90-seat regional aircraft in the region.
About the ATR 72-600:
- Passenger capacity: 68 to 74 seats
- Engines: Pratt & Whitney 127M
- Maximum take-off power: 2,750 horsepower per engine
- Maximum take-off weight: 23,000 kg
- Maximum load: 7,500 kg
- Maximum flight range when fully loaded: 900 nautical miles (1,665 km)
MASwings, Malaysia's first commuter airline was officially launched on 1 October 2007. It caters to the air travel needs of Sarawak and Sabah's travelling population by providing affordable fares, convenient schedule and connections within the two states in the Malaysian Borneo. Being a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, MASwings takes advantage of its link with Malaysia's national carrier to provide Sabah and Sarawak with greater connectivity to the global network already serviced by Malaysia Airlines.