Monday, April 19, 2010

ATR to play major role in East Malaysia air services

KOTA KINABALU: The ATR 72-500 aircraft will play a major role in MASwings’ domestic air services in Sabah and Sarawak.

MASwings’ managing director, Dato’ Mohd Salleh Tabrani said delivery of the 10th ATR 72-500 aircraft last week gave a further boost to the airline’s expansion plans as well as its efforts to meet growing traffic demand in the two states.

Of the ten ATR 72-500 aircraft, five will be based in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah while the remaining five in Sarawak – three in Kuching and two in Miri.

“Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Miri are MASwings’ three major operational hubs within the two states,” Salleh told New Sabah Times.

He said a centre had also been set up in Kota Kinabalu to undertake engineering and maintenance work on ATR aircraft.

Salleh said delivery of the 10th ATR 72-500 also marked the completion of its fleet renewal programme that began in 2009. The aim of the programme was to replace all ageing Fokker 50 with the modern ATR 72-500 aircraft.

The need to replace the fleet of Fokker 50 is obvious. The planes are 20 years’ old and it is difficult to source for spare parts. Besides, they incur higher maintenance and operation cost, have lower technical reliability and are not fuel efficient.

But why ATR 72-500? Salleh explained that the ATR has lower maintenance and operation cost, higher reliability and safety standards, better customer comfort (five times quieter than the older generation of turboprop and 50 per cent quieter than modern regional jets). It is also 60 per cent more fuel efficient than a 70-seat jet and emits 50 per cent less carbon dioxide per passenger per kilometer compared with jets.

Continue reading at: ATR to play major role in East Malaysia air services

No comments: