Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Amakusa Airlines' ATR42-600 arrives in Japan.

On August 21st, Amakusa Airlines' [AHX] brand-new ATR42-600 registered JA01AM arrived at Kumamoto [KMJ/RJFT] on delivery (Amakusa Airlines chooses ATR42-600.). The Amakusa [AXJ/RJDA]-based commuter airline will replace its sole 39-seat Bombardier DHC-8-103 JA81MX Mizoka with the new 48-seat aircraft, which becomes the first of the type to be operated in Japan. It had been delivered to Nordic Aviation Capital on lease to Amakusa Airlines on August 13th.

The eight on board the delivery flight pose in front of ATR42-600 JA01AM New Mizoka at Kumamoto upon completing the long journey. (Photo: Amakusa Airlines)

The long delivery flight started from Toulouse/Blagnac [TLS/LFBO] on August 16th, making stops at Paphos [PFO/LCPH], Bahrain [BAH/OBBI], Muscat [MCT/OOMS], Malé [MLE/VRMM], Colombo/Bandaranaike [CMB/VCBI], Bangkok/Don Mueang [DMK/VTBD], and Taipei/Taoyuan [TPE/RCTP], before arriving at Kumamoto on August 21st. As JA01AM approached the Kyushu airport, it performed a low-pass in front of a crowd of enthusiasts who gathered to welcome the new turboprop, before touching down on Runway 25. A total of eight officials including pilots from ATR and Amakusa staff were on board the delivery flight.

ATR42-600 JA01AM New Mizoka at Toulouse prior to delivery. (Photo: Amakusa Airlines)

The tiny single-aircraft airline currently flies Amakusa – Fukuoka [FUK/RJFF] three times daily and Amakusa – Kumamoto – Osaka/Itami [ITM/RJOO] daily, though the latter was suspended on August 23rd to allow its pilots to start transitioning to the ATR42. Crew training is expected to start by the end of August, and the brand-new aircraft is planned to enter service sometime in January 2016. The sole DHC-8 will be retired then, retaining a single-aircraft fleet.

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. The small niche airline code-shares with Japan Airlines [JL/JAL] on all flights (Amakusa Airlines announces code-share with JAL.) and outsources ground handling to its partner at all of its destinations except for Amakusa, its home base. JAL affiliate Japan Air Commuter [3X/JAC] will become the second ATR42 operator in Japan in 2017 when it starts to take delivery of eight ordered to replace its Saab SF340Bs (Japan Air Commuter orders up to 23 ATR42-600s.).

Source: Amakusa Airlines @ Facebook.
Source: Aviation Wire, 2015 August 21st. (in Japanese)

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