DALLAS – A new Uzbekistan regional carrier, Silk Avia, is to become the country’s first operator of the ATR 72, following an agreement to acquire several of the European turboprops.
The airline and manufacturer have signed Heads of Agreement (HOA) for five new -600 airframes. Three will come directly from ATR, while two will be sourced from a leasing company. All five examples will be fitted with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127XT engines. Three used airframes will also be sourced to launch services.
Announced at the 2021 Dubai Air Show, Silk Avia was established by Uzbekistan Airports with the primary aim of ‘stimulating tourism and business development.’ The airline plans to offer air transport as an alternative to domestic rail travel, increasing regional connectivity to the capital Tashkent and between Uzbek cities.
Forty routes across the country will be served, connecting eleven domestic airports initially and a further seven in the future.
Regarding the agreement, Rano Dzhuraeva, Chair of Uzbekistan Airports, said, “We are excited to be soon launching our operations with an all-ATR fleet. As a new low-cost airline, we undertook an extensive review of which aircraft would provide the best solution. Our selection of the ATR 72-600 is the perfect choice for us as they will ensure we can offer our passengers the most modern, comfortable, and reliable experience in the most affordable and sustainable way.”
Meanwhile, ATR CEO Nathalie Tarnaud Laude added, “In a fast-growing country such as Uzbekistan, Silk Avia will play a key role by offering vital links for local communities and boosting the economy… We warmly welcome Silk Avia as one of our newest customers, opening a new market for ATR in Central Asia.”
The pair have also agreed to a five-year Global Maintenance Agreement (GMA) covering the new fleet on a pay-by-the-hour basis.
According to a statement released by ATR, ‘the contract includes the repair, overhaul and Line Replaceable Unit Pool Exchange Service, an on-site stock of spare parts, a spare part agreement, along with propeller availability and maintenance services.’
Featured Image: The airline plans to launch operations “in the near future.” Photo: ATR