Silk Avia, Uzbekistan’s upcoming regional airline, has selected France-based plane manufacturer ATR to supply its fleet with turboprop aircraft for domestic operations.
On November 23, 2022, the new low-cost carrier signed a Heads of Agreement (HOA), under which it committed to purchase five new ATR72-600 twin-engine turboprops. The air carrier will buy three planes directly from the manufacturer, while the remaining two will join the fleet under a long-term agreement with an unidentified aircraft leasing company.
The recently signed contract also includes the maintenance of the whole Silk Avia all-ATR fleet by ATR engineers.
“The contract includes the repair, overhaul, and Line Replaceable Unit Pool Exchange Service, our-site stock of spare parts, a spare part agreement, along with propeller availability and maintenance services,” ATR explained in a statement.
“As a new low-cost airline, we undertook an extensive review of which aircraft would provide the best solution,” Rano Dzhuraeva, the chair of Uzbekistan Airports, said. “Our selection of the ATR72-600 is the perfect choice for us as they will ensure we can offer our passengers the most modern, comfortable, and reliable experience most affordably and sustainably.”
According to ATR, all five ATR72-600s will be powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW127XT engines, which will reduce aircraft maintenance costs by 20% and shrink fuel consumption levels by 3% compared to the previous generation of engines. The manufacturer said the turboprop can burn around 45% less fuel and cuts aircraft emission levels by 45% when compared to a similar-sized regional jet.
What is Silk Avia?
A joint venture between Uzbekistan Airports and Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Transport, Silk Avia, is being developed to stimulate domestic tourism and develop business in the country. Though the air carrier plans to start operations in 2022, it has not officially confirmed the exact date of launch yet.
Aiming to grow its fleet to a total of 12 ATR turboprops by 2025, the newcomer to the Uzbekistan market is expected to increase regional air connectivity between the Uzbek cities and the country’s capital Tashkent by offering direct passenger flights on 54 routes in the three years after the launch.