Taipei--Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT) plans to replace its eight older McDonnell Douglas MD-80 airplanes, as it develops a new fleet of aircraft comprised of planes made by Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR and Airbus A320s or A321s, the airline said on Wednesday.
At a ceremony to unveil the company's first ATR72-600 aircraft, FAT Chief Operating Officer Tseng Chin-chih (???) said the fleet will ultimately consist of 20-30 planes, including nine ATR planes and 10-20 Airbus A320s or A321s, according to the company's long-term goals.
FAT currently has eight MD-80s, with six that are 20 years old or older and two others approaching that age. For that reason, the Civil Aeronautics Administration has in recent years urged FAT to replace the older jets with new models, according to Tseng.
The airline has decided to introduce four ATR72-600 twin-turboprop aircraft this year and a fifth next year to fly domestic routes. It took delivery of the first ATR72-600 last week before its debut on Wednesday, Tseng said.
In addition to the ATR aircraft, FAT also plans to purchase two Airbus A320s or A321s to operate cross-strait and international flights in the fourth quarter of next year.
Additional Airbus A320s or A321s will be brought in to replace existing MD-80s, according to Tseng.
Equipped with PW 127M twin engines, FAT's ATR 72-600 has 70 seats and a 30-inch seat pitch, Tseng added.
The ATR 72-600 will come into service at the end of this year and fly between Kinmen and Magong in Penghu. Ticket prices will be raised in accordance with the higher cost of the ATR model relative to the MD series, according to FAT Chairman Chang Kang-wei (???).
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel