Air France HOP! To Retire ATR-500s This Year

According to website ch-aviation, Air France subsidiary HOP! is set to retire it’s three ATR 42-500 aircraft in late 2Q19. With the second quarter ending on June 30th, this means the end is quite near for the the ATR variants at Air France’s regional brand.

Air France HOP! To Retire ATR-500s This Year
According to Wikipedia, only four more -500s remain in the fleet. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ready for retirement

HOP!’s ATR -500 fleet has been in the news a few times which may indicate that retirement of these old planes is coming at the right time:

According to Wikipedia, there are three remaining ATR 42-500s. These older ATR -500 aircraft that remain as part of the HOP! fleet are roughly 23 years old. Using data gathered from Airfleets.net, we know that the old ATRs like F-GPYB are flying short routes that are just under or over one hour long. These routes include Marseilles-Toulouse and Toulouse-Nantes.

Several -500s that once served HOP! have since moved on to join the Sky Express Greece fleet.

The replacements

Air France HOP! still has the newer ATR-72-600 in their fleet – which have been replacing the -500 variants. Delivered in around 2015, these aircraft are only are 3-4 years old.

According to a 2015 ATR press release, five ATR 72-600s have been gradually replacing the ATR 72-500s. This was part of HOP!’s long-term strategy which aims to modernize the fleet and improve the network.

In the 2015 statement, Lionel Guerin, Vice President Senior Executive of HOP! Air France said:

“We are pleased to expand our partnership with ATR and excited about the opportunities these aircraft will bring…These new-generation turboprops are perfectly adapted to many of our existing and potential routes.”

ATR 72-600s have been slowly replacing the -500s in the HOP! fleet. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

However, these newer 600s won’t be around for long. Maxime Patula, Air France Digital Communications and Press relations, tells Simple Flying that ALL ATRs will be phased out by the end of 2020. “This is part of the plan to rationalize the fleet,” he reports.

About HOP!

According to the original 2013 press release“HOP! is a 100% subsidiary of Air France [and] is legally structured around a public limited company controlling 100% of the three airlines Régional, Brit and Airlinair”.

In fact, according to Wikipedia, the new airline brand was put in place to “better compete with the low-cost airlines which have taken a significant market share of Air France’s regional routes”.

According to FlightRadar24, F-GPYD has not flown at all recently. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Air France HOP! To Retire ATR-500s This Year
Another shot of an ATR -500. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In February of this year we wrote about how Air France may consider closing their HOP! brand. This, according to new Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith, was “because it is confusing for Air France’s long-haul passengers, a problem similar to Joon.” However, there have been no developments on the fate of HOP! – just that Air France is making cuts to their short-haul capacity.

Have you flown on any of the old Air France HOP! ATR -500s? Let us know what your experience was like by leaving a comment!

1 Shares: