Uzbekistan start-up regional airline Silk Avia is to launch services ‘soon’ with three used ATR 72-600s but will take delivery of five new aircraft next year, ATR has announced today. Silk Avia opens up Uzbekistan for ATR.

Silk Avia was established in July 2021 by Uzbekistan Airports JSC on the initiative of the Ministry of Transport. The new airline intends to build a network of forty routes until late 2023 that connect eleven airports, in which Uzbekistan Airports has made significant investments in the past years. Routes will be served on the points-to-hub and point-to-point principle. Airports include those in Tashkent, Samarkand, Namangan, Nukus, or Karshi.

Uzbekistan Airports said last year that Silk Avia would launch operations in the fourth quarter of 2022. This is now confirmed with the acquisition of the three used 72-600s. The airline has now signed a Heads of Agreement to purchase three factory-built 72-600s and acquire two more from an undisclosed lessor. The new aircraft will get the latest Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127XT-M engine, which was certified earlier this year.

The airline has also signed a Global Maintenance Agreement that offers pay-by-the-hour maintenance for five years. The agreement covers repair, overhaul, and Line Replaceable Unit Pool Exchange Service, an on-site stock of spare parts, a spare part agreement, and maintenance services. ATR enters new territory, as Silk Avia will be its first customer in Uzbekistan. 

Uzbekistan Airports’ Chair, Rano Dzhuraeva, said that the company had taken “an extensive review of which aircraft would provide the best solution. Our selection of the ATR 72-600 is the perfect choice for us as they will ensure we can offer our passengers the most modern, comfortable, and reliable experience in the most affordable and sustainable way.”

ATR CEO Nathalie Tarnaud Laude welcomed the new customer: “In a fast-growing country such as Uzbekistan, Silk Avia will play a key role by offering vital links for local communities and boosting the economy.  Studies have shown that an increase of 10% in regional flights can lead to a five percent increase in local GDP and ATR contributes by providing the most responsible and affordable regional aircraft.”

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Active as journalist since 1987, starting with regional newspaper Zwolse Courant. Grand Prix reporter in 1997 at Dutch monthly Formule 1, general reporter Lelystad/Flevoland at De Stentor/Dagblad Flevoland, from 2002 until June 2021 radio/tv reporter/presentor with Omroep Flevoland.
Since mid-2016 freelance aviation journalist, since June 2021 fully dedicated to aviation. Reporter/editor AirInsight since December 2018. Contributor to Airliner World, Piloot & Vliegtuig. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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