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Bangkok Airways Orders 2 More ATR-72-500s

TOULOUSE, France --- ATR announced today the signature of a contract for the purchase of two ATR 72-500s that will be operated by Thailand’s Bangkok Airways. The deal is valued at US $ 37 million and has been inked with Irish-based leasing company AIR Ltd (Aircraft International Renting), a subsidiary of TAT Group, which will lease the aircraft to the airline.

With these two aircraft, Bangkok Airways will bring its ATR 72-500 fleet up to 10 aircraft. Deliveries of these two additional aircraft are scheduled for late 2008 and 2009.

The aircraft will be configured with 70 seats and will be used to increase the total capacity of the ATR fleet of the airline and thus face its increasing flight demand in Thailand and the surrounding region.

Bangkok Airways, which is celebrating this year its 40th anniversary, started operating ATR aircraft in 1994 and ordered their first ‘-500 series’ ATRs in 2000 and 2002. With the two aircraft announced today, Bangkok Airways will become one of the largest ATR operators in South East Asia.

Commenting on the deal, Dr. Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, President and CEO of Bangkok Airways, stated: “We have been operating ATRs for many years because they offer us optimal results in terms of performance and economics. We are also pleased to count such a strong fleet of ‘-500’ ATRs, which are the most fuel-efficient and environment friendly aircraft of the regional aviation. The preservation and care of the environment is a major concern for us”.

Rodolphe Marchais, Chairman and CEO of TAT Group (the shareholder of AIR) underlined “the strength of the partnership between TAT Group, ATR and Bangkok Airways. Our partnership started already at the beginning of the ATR operations of the airline in 1994 and has been growing successfully up to date, allowing the consolidation of a solid regional network”. He added: “The ATR aircraft has been a good investment for our leasing company and we are pleased to continue this relationship with Bangkok Airways well into the future”.

Stéphane Mayer, ATR CEO, declared: “We are delighted with our strong commercial success in South East Asia in the last months. Since late 2007, we have booked orders for more than 40 new aircraft in that region. This success underlines the suitability of the ATRs for the regional operations, because of their ability to connect small airports and to operate in extreme weather conditions” And he concluded: “It is an honor to receive, once again, the confidence of both Bangkok Airways and TAT Group. We will make sure to give an optimal support to the airline’s operations and to keep this partnership fruitful and successful in the coming years”.

ATR reached in 2007 a record year with orders for 113 new aircraft. Since the beginning of the programme, ATR has sold 953 aircraft (417 ATR 42s and 536 ATR 72s) and has delivered 763 (397 ATR 42s and 366 ATR 72s), thus posting a current backlog of 190 aircraft.

Bangkok Airways, dubbed as “Asia’s Boutique Airline” served Thailand and the region for exactly four decades this year. From a humble start as a charter service under Sahakol Air back in 1968, the award-winning airline now boasts its portfolio with the most charming destinations in the region. Facing the rapid growth of tourism and business investments in Thailand, Bangkok Airways presently flies to over 20 regional routes, covering nearly all beaches and World Heritage destinations in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Maldives, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, and Japan.

Toulouse, Southern France-based regional aircraft manufacturer ATR is the world leader in the 50 to 74-seat turboprop market. ATR is an equal partnership between Alenia Aeronautica (Finmeccanica group) and EADS.

Bangkok Airways Expands its ATR fleet with Two More ATR 72-500s