Air Transport World

A foothold in the U.K. for ATR. (CityFlyer Express is first UK airline to use ATR-42 aircraft)

LONDON--CityFlyer Express, Gatwick airport-based regional that grew out of die ashes of Air Europe, has become a code-sharing partner with British Airways. And in May, the carrier that once was known as Connectair, became the first U.K. airline to place the ATR 42 in service on its network. Eventually, the ATR 42 will replace the airline's Shorts 360s and its big brother, the ATR 72, may become the aircraft for the longer term.

How the airline came to select the 48-seat Franco-Italian turboprop--it ordered two last December, with two more on option, in a $40 million deal--over its rivals in the marketplace, makes an interesting case study, as recounted by Managing Director Brad Burgess.

"The first thing was size," Burgess said. "We needed an airplane with about 50 seats to obtain cheaper seat-mile costs, which is very important to an airline of our size. If we went bigger than 50 seats, we would not know what to do with its capacity in the winter months. But we did not want to stay down in the 30-seat size for a number of reasons, the principal one of which is the enormous Gatwick peak landing charge of [pounds]293 ($500), whether you are landing a Cessna or a 747. The more seats you have, the better you can spread the cost. …

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