Romanian flag-carrier TAROM has just received its first ATR 72-600. In total, TAROM will be leasing nine ATR 72-600s from Nordic Aviation Capital. The airline plans to use the new aircraft to bolster its domestic route network.
On 19 February, TAROM officially took delivery of its first new ATR 72-600. Just one day after the delivery the aircraft was ready to operate its inaugural flight from Bucharest to Timișoara. TAROM was initially supposed to receive its first ATR 72-600 in October 2019, but it has had to wait a couple of extra months for this first aircraft, registered YR-ATJ.
TAROM upgrading its turboprop fleet
The Romanian airline has decided to lease its nine new ATR 72-600s from Nordic Aviation Capital, which is currently the world’s largest lessor of smaller regional aircraft. In fact, TAROM already has a number of ATR turboprop aircraft in its fleet – seven ATR 42-500s and two ATR 72-500s. Unlike the new ATR 72-600s TAROM has decided to add to its fleet, the airline outright owns the old models.
These older aircraft are, however, starting to show their age. The ATR 42-500s range from 20- to 22-years-old, while both of the airline’s ATR 72-500s are 11 years old. As a result, TAROM made the decision back in June 2019 that it would refresh its turboprop fleet.
Discussing the ATR 72-600 upon the announcement of the order, TAROM’s then CEO, Madalina Mezei, said:
“With this aircraft, we will be able to develop new routes and increase frequency and seat availability, whilst introducing the highest levels of comfort and the latest technology into our domestic network.”
TAROM plans to use its new ATR 72-600s to expand and develop its domestic and regional offerings.
Why the ATR 72-600?
While the newer ATR 72-600 is largely the same as the old ATR 72-500 in terms of its external appearance, it has some important upgrades which make it a much more attractive option for airlines looking to upgrade their fleet.
Firstly, the ATR 72-600 has newer, more efficient Pratt & Whitney engines, which ATR says allow the aircraft to outperform regional jets with 40% lower fuel use and 40% less CO2 emissions.
Efficiency is, of course, major consideration for airlines as they look to minimize fuel costs. However, arguably just as important in TAROM’s case, is the upgraded and redesigned interior found in the cockpit and cabin of the ATR 72-600. Not only are the amenities inside the aircraft a significant upgrade from the ATR 72-500, but the -600 has significantly more seating capacity. According to ATR, this means that TAROM will be able to provide an additional 300,000 seats every year using the ATR 72-600 instead of its outgoing turboprop aircraft.
TAROM is a longstanding customer of ATR. The two companies have a relationship that reaches back 20 years. In fact, TAROM remains one of the most experienced operators of ATR aircraft in Europe. As TAROM adds more ATR 72-600s to its fleet over the coming year, it should be able to put its network expansion plan into action.
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