Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Avion de Transport Regional (ATR) today signed an agreement for the purchase of 20 ATR 72-500s turbo prop aircraft for MAS' subsidiary, Firefly.
The contract is worth about US$360 million, with a list price of about US$18.3 million per unit.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his Italian counterpart Romano Prodi witnessed the signing of the agreement at Villa Madama here. The leaders earlier had held bilateral talks.
Signing on behalf of MAS was its Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer Tengku Azmil Zahruddin Raja Abdul Aziz while ATR was represented by its Chairman of the Board, Filippo Bagnato.
Speaking to reporters later, Tengku Azmil Zahruddin said the contract was for the purchase of 10 72-seater ATR aircraft plus an option for another 10 aircraft.
"The purchase of the aircraft is for the use of Firefly which has gone into its expansion phase," he said.
Firefly, he said would be operating from its hubs in Penang, Subang, Johor Baharu and Kota Kinabalu.
Tengku Azmil Zahruddin said the first delivery of two to three of the ATR aircraft was expected in October next year.
The aircraft would eventually replace the two Fokker 50, which is now being operated by Firefly, he added.
ATR is jointly owned by Alenia Aeronautica (Finmeccanica) and EADS.
Finmeccanica in a statement released here said that this was the first time that the Malaysian national carrier was purchasing an ATR aircraft.
Its brand new ATR 72-500s fleet will enable the airline to open new routes across Malaysia, it said.
These aircraft will be equipped with the "Elegance" cabin, Light Emitting Diode (LED), In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) and ETOPS 120, as well as the latest technological innovations in passenger comfort, communications and navigation tools, it added.
IFE in the ATRs?
[Edited 2007-06-25 18:08:03]