Aircraft manufacturer ATR has delivered the first high capacity ATR 72-600 turboprop to launch customer Cebu Pacific.
The aircraft, RP-C7280, was handed over to the Filipino low-cost carrier at ATR’s Toulouse headquarters on September 22.
It has been configured with 78 seats in a one-class configuration, 10 more seats than the 68-seat ATR 72-600s featured on the type flown by the likes of Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand in this part of the world.
The 78-seat version of the aircraft received certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in December 2015 and features a reduced seat pitch of 28-29 inches, compared with 30-31 inches on the 68-seat variety, as well as the removal of a galley compartment with a new aft foldable galley.
ATR chief executive Patrick de Castelbajac said the 78-seat ATR would help grow regional connectivity across South-East Asia.
“This new maximum capacity configuration, using new optimized seats, is providing the best possible answer to the continuous increase of traffic on regional routes in Asia,” de Castelbajac said in a statement.
The low-cost carrier has ordered 16 ATR 72-600s, which will be delivered between now and 2020. Eight will be replacement aircraft for its fleet of ATR 72-500s (which have 72 seats). The airline also has options for a further 10 ATR 72-600s.
Cebu president and chief executive Lance Gokongwei said his airline was pleased to be the launch customer of the 78-seat turboprop.
“We are honoured to be able to provide the most modern standards of comfort and even more competitive fares to our guests,” Gokongwei said.
“Overall our new fleet will help us expand our inter-island network, strengthen links between local communities and encourage more business and tourism opportunities, thus support the growing Philippine economy.”
ATR also offers the ATR 72-600 in a combi or “cargo flex” configuration, where the cargo capacity is increased by 82 per cent, from 1,700kg to 3,100kg, while the number of seats is reduced to 44.