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ATR 72 debuts at London City with Aer Arann

10th February 2009 - 18:16 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


The first ATR 72 commercial service into London City Airport (LCY) arrived this morning (10 February) with a service operated by Aer Arann from the Isle of Man. The ATR 72-500 touched down shortly before 10 a.m. (GMT).

The aircraft received UK CAA certification for the airport’s steep approach on 2 February, adding to the EASA certification it received in 2002. The airport requires all aircraft operating there to have UK CAA certification.

Final trials were carried out on 30 January with a test aircraft conducting three approaches plus stand manoeuvring. These rounded out a process begun 12 months ago, but one which stepped up in October last year when the airline announced the launch of the service.

The 68-seat ATR 72-500 is payload limited is in one runway direction when subject to inclement weather, so the airline has opted to cap sales at 60 seats maximum.

Although Aer Arann chief executive Paul Schütz had hoped the aircraft would be ready for route launch on 19 January, he paid tribute to ATR, LCY, the UK CAA “and all concerned for pulling out all the stops”.

Schütz noted that the route has been performing to expectations. “It was a slow burner until we launched. Now it’s building towards delivering the 75,000 passengers a year we targeted,” he confirmed, noting that the extra capacity the 72-500 brings will aid the process. Aer Arann currently operates four of the type with more to come from an order placed in spring 2006.

Gary Hodgetts, the airport’s director operations policy and planning, welcomed the new type to the airport. “The majority of passengers at London City fly on out-of-production aeroplanes,” he noted, “so this is important to our future.”

Hodgetts confirmed that, from getting the process under way, the ATR 72-500 has been the quickest certification of any aircraft at the airport. It joins the ATR 42-500, Bombardier Q400, Embraer 170 and Airbus A318 as in-production aircraft certified for the airport.

From the other end of the route, Isle of Man airport director, Ann Reynolds, remarked that the business community on the island have been delighted with the three-times daily service. Aer Arann is to give those passengers even better travel times in its summer schedule, with the first flight to LCY advancing from 0825 to 0805 and the last flight back moving forward from 1945 to 1930.

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/

The Shephard News Team


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