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  • Joe Breitfeller

Afrijet, Aircraft Lessor Abelo, and Japan’s Feel Air Order ATR Turboprop Aircraft

This week at the 2022 Farnborough International Airshow, ATR booked a substantial number of orders for their popular ATR turboprop aircraft and derivatives, including orders from Afrijet, new aircraft lessor Abelo, and Japan’s Feel Air Holdings.


Afrijet ATR 72-600 - Courtesy ATR

On Wednesday (July 20, 2022), from the 2022 Farnborough International Airshow, ATR announced that Central African airline Afrijet has finalized the purchase of an additional ATR 72-600 for delivery by the end of the year. The incremental order will expand the airline’s ATR 72-600 fleet to six by 2023, allowing the carrier to increase frequencies and open new routes. Afrijet initially started with pre-owned ATRs and then moving on to leased aircraft in 2020. The airline will benefit from ATR’s effectiveness in growing regional networks, which will allow Afrijet to offer more responsible and inclusive connectivity to businesses and communities in Africa.

In today’s announcement, Afrijet’s CEO, Marc Gaffajoli, said,


“Regional connectivity has a significant impact on local economies and community integration. To be effective in Africa an aircraft has to be cost-efficient, reliable and versatile. Moreover, the unique terrain in which Afrijet operates, comprising of the Congo rainforest – the world’s second largest tropical forest after the Amazon – makes an even stronger reason to select the most responsible aircraft on the market for such essential connections.”


Also commenting on Afrijet’s order, ATR’s Senior Vice President – Commercial, Fabrice Vautier, said,


“Most traffic in Africa is concentrated on a few well served routes and there is a real need to connect secondary cities. Afrijet is able to do just that, providing a reliable and comfortable service to local communities. Accelerating the transition of its fleet to purchase the latest generation of ATR aircraft, is a clear demonstration of Afrijet’s strong business strategy and commitment to sustainable aviation.”


Abelo Signs Agreement with ATR for 20 ATR Turboprop Aircraft at the Farnborough International Airshow on Tuesday, Jluy 19, 2022 - Courtesy ATR

In a previous press release on Tuesday (July 19, 2022), ATR announced that newly formed aircraft lessor, Abelo, ordered 10 new ATR 72-600s, as well as 10 new ATR 42-600S Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) variants, previously signed by Elix Aviation in 2019. Abelo will receive their first ATR 72-600 deliveries from 2023, and ATR 42-600S deliveries from 2024.


In Tuesday’s announcment, Abelo’s Chief Executive Officer, Steve Gorman, said,


“We firmly believe that turboprops are the technology of today and tomorrow and this is why we are investing in the ATR platform. This new deal is further proof of our commitment to create growth and value for regional operators, providing them with the most modern, profitable and sustainable aircraft on the market. As we are looking to expand and become the go-to lessor of turboprops, our strong links with ATR will prove invaluable.”


ATR’s Chief Executive Officer, Stefano Bortoli, added,


“Abelo is a perfect partner for ATR and a force to be reckoned with in the regional aviation market. With today’s order for 20 aircraft, they demonstrate their long-term confidence in our product family and shine a light on the many opportunities that exist for operators across the globe. The financial community and leasing companies in particular have been unswerving supporters of ATR throughout the years, and will keep playing a key role.”


On Monday (July 18, 2022) from the 2022 International Airshow, ATR announced that Japan’s Feel Air Holdings signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) for the purchase of up to 36 aircraft. Feel Air is a new Japanese regional carrier, created with the purpose of helping to revitalize Japan’s regions. The company will use their unique franchise business structure to gradually establish a family of regional airlines that will cover different domestic regions in Japan. Feel Air intends to establish new regional connections throughout the Japanese Archipelago, which has nearly 100 airports. The carrier’s fleet will include both ATR 42-600 and ATR 72-600 aircraft, as well as the ATR 42-600S STOL variant.


ATR's CEO, Stefano Bortoli, Feel Air Holdings' President Mr. Taiichi Kojima and Feel Air's CEO, Mr. Hideki Ide, Sign Letter of Intent for up to 36 ATR Aircraft.



In Monday’s announcment, Feel Air Holdings’ President, Mr. Taiichi Kojima, said,


“Feel Air Holdings aims to bring a new dynamic to Japanese regional air travel, making it more versatile, more meaningful, and more accessible to all. Thanks to their reduced CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency, ATR aircraft can help us to do this in a sustainable manner, allowing us to contribute actively to local communities while also protecting Japan’s many beautiful natural landscapes.”


Also commenting on the airline’s plans to acquire up to 36 ATR aircraft, Feel Air Holdings’ Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Hideki Ide, said,


“Over the coming years, Feel Air Holdings will establish at least five regional airlines, with a fleet that will ultimately comprise 36 ATR aircraft. Our fundamental goal is to improve regional air mobility in Japan by connecting local destinations that currently do not have air service, thereby creating stronger links between regional businesses and people, generating new markets, and enriching local economies. ATR aircraft play an essential part in our business strategy because they are the ideal size for such regional operations and demonstrate exceptional operational efficiency.”


ATR’s Chief Executive Officer, Stefano Bortoli, added,


“Air transport is crucial for Japan’s islands and regions, and the establishment of Feel Air will help connect Japan’s regions affordably and sustainably. At ATR, we want to help ensure that aviation and Feel Air in particular can contribute to a prosperous future for Japan. Together, we will explore many opportunities for our versatile and sustainable turboprops in the coming years, to further support Japan’s economic development and its need for quick, reliable and responsible essential services.”


Feel Air Holdings Co., Ltd. (Feel Air) is a new Japanese regional airline franchise company, whose first airline, Feel Air EAST, is scheduled to commence passenger revenue service in 2024.

ATR is the world’s number one regional aircraft manufacturer and their ATR 42 and 72 aircraft are the best-selling aircraft in the under 90-seat market segment. Over their last 40+ years building efficient turboprop regional aircraft, ATR has reached major milestones including 1,800 aircraft orders and 1,600 deliveries to over 200 customers in more than 100 countries. The company’s turboprop aircraft represent the optimal and most sustainable choice for regional deployment at the lowest operating costs, and offer the ability to serve isolated communities living near challenging airfields. Over the last decade, ATR has held 75 percent of the turboprop market and 36 percent of the overall regional aircraft market. ATR is a joint venture between Airbus and Leonardo.



Source: ATR