Air Botswana, the Botswana national flag carrier, took delivery of its first ATR 72-600 last Friday. The aircraft, delivered in Toulouse, is the first of a contract signed in July for two ATR 72-600s.

The second is planned for delivery before the end of the year. The ATR 72-600s will upgrade Air Botswana’s current fleet of three ATR 42-500s and one ATR 72-500s.The brand-new aircraft is configured with a 70-seat, dual class cabin and equipped with the latest avionics. With these two ATR 72-600, the Botswana airline makes a clear forward looking decision to benefit from a fleet with the most modern turboprops equipped with cutting-edge technology.

Commenting on the delivery of their first ATR 72-600, Agnes Tsholofelo Khunwana, CEO of Air Botswana, said: “We have been using ATRs for over 20 years and are very satisfied with their operating results. The latest generation of ATRs will allow us to provide the highest standards of comfort, reliability and eco-efficiency to our customers. The ATR 72-600s have also remarkable performance in terms of fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions which is an important added-value.”

Stefano Bortoli, CEO of ATR, added, “Air Botswana is a long-standing ATR operator for over 20 years. Upgrading their fleet with 72-600s is a sign of confidence and we are very proud of that. With over 120 ATR aircraft flying in Africa, ATRs are the right aircraft for regional aviation in Africa, now and in the future, thanks to their unbeatable economics, eco-efficiency and comfort. ATR aims to play a major role in supporting local economies and social development for communities in Africa.”

ATR turboprops, with their outstanding performance on short runways, versatility and unbeatable economics, are a benchmark for operating in challenging conditions throughout the world and is perfectly adapted for Africa, the most diverse geographic region in the world. The ATR 72-600s for Air Botswana will be equipped with the PW127N engine, which features the super-boost option that provides the benefit of allowing a four-passenger payload from hot and high airfields such as Johannesburg, Gaborone and Maun.

ATR sees a demand of 300 new turboprops over the next 20 years for the Africa and Middle-East region. Regional aviation provides essential connectivity around the world. A 10% increase in regional flights generates additional increases of 5% in tourism, 6% in regional GDP and 8% foreign direct investment. Turboprops are key in connecting communities around the world: 36% of all commercial airports rely exclusively on turboprops and 50% rely, also exclusively, on regional aircraft.

Air Botswana was created in 1988 as the national flag carrier. Today, the airline contributes to the development of tourism and business in the country, and is an active member of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA). On the ground, the airline's reputation for excellence extends to the modern engineering hangar at Sir Seretse Khama Airport where Air Botswana technical staff carry out full maintenance not only on the home fleet but also on the aircraft of other African carriers