Coverage by Chris Sloan

PARIS – Air Tahiti has ordered two ATR 42-600S aircraft. It is the newest version of the ATR 42-600, and the “S” stands for STOL (Short Take of and Landing) and the new aircraft will allow the Polynesian airline to take off and land or runways that are only 800 meters long.

Manate Vivish, General Manager of Air Tahiti, stated: “I am so happy to be part of the launch of this new version of the ATR. This turboprop has already earned worldwide recognition for its high-quality performance, especially for island networks.”

“The ATR 42-600S will enable us to use higher-capacity aircraft for destinations which until now had only been accessible with much smaller aircraft. This is excellent news, both for the inhabitants of the archipelago and for the tourists who visit us.”

ATR has begun taking delivers for this new aircraft at the Air Show, and the official announcement and launch of this new aircraft is expected to take place before the end of this year once the company’s Board of Directors has made a decision.

There is no doubt however that the evident popularity of this aircraft, in term of the numbers of orders that this aircraft has received in the first three days of the Paris Airshow.

Stefano Bortoli, ATR’s Chief Executive Officer, added: “Air Tahiti has been one of our best ambassadors for over 30 years. Day after day, the airline demonstrates our aircraft’s ability to serve island communities in a sustainable, responsible way.”

“We are proud to announce that Air Tahiti is the launch customer for our ATR 42-600S, and we are convinced that this enhanced version will help the airline boost connectivity between communities even further, and support local development even more effectively.”

The new capabilities of the STOL version of the ATR will open up an additional seven hundred new airports to Air Tahiti, who will look to continue to operate the ATR 42-600s across their fleet as they have done for the last 30 years with their other ATRs.

The airline has confirmed that the planes will initially be used on route interconnecting the Marquesas Islands and have said it will boost the number, so seats currently available to passengers flying to specific destinations in the archipelago, such as Ua Pou or Ua Huka, both of which are presently being operated by much smaller aircraft.