PARIS, FRANCE — Franco-Italian turboprop aircraft manufacturer ATR and Uzbekistan's new regional airline Silk Avia have signed an agreement for the acquisition of five new ATR 72-600, three directly from ATR and two from a lessor.

Silk Avia is a regional startup airline. The airline is a venture of Uzbekistan Airports aiming to boost and increase both development and traffic across the country's airport network. The regional carrier is expected to begin operations soon with three second-hand ATR 72-600.

Uzbekistan Airports has invested heavily in establishing a wide network of upgraded and new airports to better serve the domestic and regional market in the country. The primary purpose of Silk Avia is to stimulate domestic tourism and business development. The airline will also increase regional connectivity to the capital of Tashkent and provide direct access between the Uzbek cities with 40 point-to-point routes. The airline will connect 11 domestic airports and seven additional airports in the future.

The operational versatility, affordability, and lower fuel consumption make ATR 72-600 an ideal choice for the Uzbek operator. Silk Avia's ATRs will be equipped with the new PW127XT engines, offering a 20% reduction in maintenance costs and a 3% reduction in fuel consumption compared to the existing engine. Silk Avia's aircraft will be the first new ATRs to operate in Central Asia.

Silk Avia and ATR have also announced the signature of a Global Maintenance Agreement (GMA). Through this five-year pay-by-the-hour contract, Silk Avia will take full advantage of manufacturer expertise to support its ATR aircraft, thereby reducing maintenance costs while boosting operations. The contract includes the repair, overhaul, and Line Replaceable Unit Pool Exchange Service, an on-site stock of spare parts, a spare part agreement, along with propeller availability and maintenance services.

"We are excited to be soon launching our operations with an all-ATR fleet. As a new low-cost airline, we undertook an extensive review of which aircraft would provide the best solution. Our selection of the ATR 72-600 is the perfect choice for us as they will ensure we can offer our passengers the most modern, comfortable, and reliable experience in the most affordable and sustainable way," Rano Dzhuraeva, Chair of Uzbekistan Airports, said.

"There is no better solution to provide essential links than an ATR 72-600, the sustainable benchmark in regional aviation today. In a fast-growing country such as Uzbekistan, Silk Avia will play a key role by offering vital links for local communities and boosting the economy. Studies have shown that an increase of 10% in regional flights can lead to a 5% increase in local GDP, and ATR contributes by providing the most responsible and affordable regional aircraft. We warmly welcome Silk Avia as one of our newest customers, opening a new market for ATR in Central Asia," ATR Chief Executive Officer Nathalie Tarnaud Laude added.