Far Eastern Air Transport set to fly its first ATR72-600

An ATR72-600 from Far Eastern Air Transport Corp. (FAT) lands at an unknown location in this undated file photo. The company plans to put the new 72-seat aircraft into commercial service on Thursday when it flies from Taichung to Kinmen. (NOWnews/Courtesy of FAT)

TAIPEI (CNA) – Far Eastern Air Transport Corp. (FAT) will put its first ATR72-600 aircraft into commercial service on Thursday when it flies from Taichung to Kinmen, FAT Chief Operating Officer Tseng Chin-chih (曾金池) said Wednesday.

FAT received certification from the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) on Tuesday to operate the ATR aircraft on domestic flights, allowing it to begin flying passengers, Tseng said.

The airline plans to use the new 72-seat ATR72-600 aircraft on three flights per week between Taichung and Kinmen and two between Taichung and Magong in Penghu.

The new aircraft is part of FAT’s efforts to modernize its aging fleet. Of its eight McDonnell Douglas MD-80 planes, six are 20 years old or more and two others are approaching that age, Tseng said earlier this year.

It plans to use aircraft made by Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR and Airbus A320s or A321s to replace the older jets.

The airline will introduce two ATR72-600 twin-turboprop aircraft this year, the first of which is the aircraft that starts flying Thursday and will put three more into service next year to fly domestic routes, according to Tseng.

The company’s plan to raise airfares to compensate for the higher cost of operating the ATR72-600 aircraft, however, has yet to be approved by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Tseng said Wednesday.

By Wang Shu-fen and Evelyn Kao