Air Botswana has accepted delivery of its newest ATR aircraft, A2-ABK (c/n 1433), as the airline continues efforts to bolster its fleet. The arrival follows an order placed for two ATR 72-600s in July, with the second example due to touch down in the African nation before the end of the year.
Management at the airline have opted for a 70-seat two-class configuration for the latest deliveries. Powering the new turboprops are Pratt & Whitney PW127N engines, equipped with a ‘super-boost’ option which the manufacturer says will allow a four-passenger payload benefit from popular ‘hot and high’ airfields such as Johannesburg/ O R Tambo and Maun.
Commenting on the delivery, CEO of Air Botswana, Agnes Tsholofelo Khunwana said: “We have been using ATRs for over 20 years and are very satisfied with their operating results. The latest generation of ATRs will allow us to provide the highest standards of comfort, reliability and eco-efficiency to our customers.”
Stefano Bortoli, CEO of ATR, added, “Upgrading their [Air Botswana’s] fleet with 72-600s is a sign of confidence and we are very proud of that. With over 120 ATR aircraft flying in Africa, ATRs are the right aircraft for regional aviation in Africa, now and in the future, thanks to their unbeatable economics, eco-efficiency and comfort. ATR aims to play a major role in supporting local economies and social development for communities in Africa.”
The new models will complement the airline’s existing three ATR 42-500s and single ATR 72-500 based at their Gaborone/Sir Seretse Khama hub.
ATR has been particularly active in Africa in recent years, with the Toulouse-based company noting rising demand on the continent for its product portfolio. The firm has forecast that Africa and Middle East will need 300 new turboprops over the next 20 years.