FARNBOROUGH — Hokkaido Air System has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ATR Aircraft for two 42-600 aircraft, with the option for one more additional unit of the type.

The airline will be operating these aircraft from 2020 and will replace the carrier’s fleet of Saab 340s.

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Yoichiro Kuwano, President of Hokkaido commented on the milestone:

“The ATR42-600 benefits from a wide cabin, comparable to that of medium-sized aircraft and will significantly improve cabin comfort for our passengers.”

“Also, the aircraft has extensive experience with operations in cold winter, which will increase the reliability of the operation in cold Hokkaido.”

“With this new aircraft and the safe operating system we’ve established, we will continue to provide reliable and comfortable travel to local businesses and communities”.

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ATR Chief Executive Officer Christian Scherer also commented on the order:

“We are delighted to see that ATR is the right aircraft for Japan.”

“With economics that is unmatched by any other aircraft the ATR makes perfect sense financially but beyond this, JAL Group’s endorsement is a testimony to the relevance of our product in a most advanced society that is concerned with comfort, environmentally-friendliness and the benefits of regional connectivity”.

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However small the order is for ATR, it begins their presence into Sapporo and Hokkaido and therefore expands their presence within Asia.

If they are to announce additional orders either at the airshow this week or outside of Farnborough, then they can start to solidify some level of market share within the Asian market to then sell consequent units.

It will be interesting to see whether ATR has any more orders for the airshow this week, having announced five orders in one day previously last week.

Airways is LIVE at the Farnborough Airshow 2018. Follow our rolling coverage on Twitter at @AIRWAYSLIVE and @AIRWAYSMAGAZINE.