Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Amakusa Airlines to acquire an ATR42.

Amakusa Airlines (AHX), the commuter airline of the Amakusa Islands in Kumamoto Prefecture, is reportedly in discussions to find a replacement aircraft for its 39-seat sole Bombardier DHC-8. Presently, the top candidate is a 48-seat ATR42. An order could be placed with the European manufacturer as early as this year for a 2015 delivery. If the plan bears fruit, it would be ATR's first customer in Japan, after would-be ATR72 operator Link Airs went out of business before taking any deliveries.
Amakusa Airlines often uses unofficial 'AMX' instead of AHX. (Image: Amakusa Airlines)

Delivered in November 1999, DHC-8-103 JA81MX has been in service ever since operations were launched in March 2000, coinciding with the opening of Amakusa Airfield (AXJ/RJDA). A 300-million-JPY C-check is coming up in 2015, and the company has concluded that that amount plus subsequent maintenance costs of the 14-year-old turboprop would outweigh the expenses of replacing it with a newer model.

Amakusa Airlines is owned 53.31% by Kumamoto Prefecture, 22.92% by the City of Amakusa, 2.73% by the City of Kamiamakusa, 1.2% by Reihoku Town, among others. From its base at Amakusa with its single DHC-8, they operate to Fukuoka (FUK/RJFF) and Kumamoto (KMJ/RJFT), as well as the Kumamoto - Osaka/Itami (ITM/RJOO) route.

Source: Kumamoto Nichinichi Shimbun (in Japanese)

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