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Uni Air purchases turboprops with cockpits of enhanced technology

2011/09/09 21:25:31

Taipei, Sept. 9 (CNA) Uni Air, a subsidiary of major Taiwanese carrier EVA Air (EVA), signed a contract to buy 10 ATR72-600 airplanes Friday as part of its aircraft procurement plan.

EVA President Chang Kuo-wei said during the signing ceremony that aircraft procurement is an important policy this year as the airline celebrates its 20th anniversary of operation.

Chang said Uni Air, a major domestic operator, plans to spend NT$7 billion (US$239.6 million) in buying new aircraft this year. Although the budget is not a lot, it marks the airline's resolution to expand in the domestic market, he said.

According to the France-based manufacturer, the new aircraft is equipped with integrated LCD advanced functions and a paperless pilot cabin that has fingertip-moving maps and various aviation data. The 72-seat planes also have larger passenger space.

Chang said EVA is the first Taiwanese airline to introduce digitized pilot cabins. The planes will replace eight 56-seat DH8-300s and some of the existing MD-90s.

Uni Air chairman Tony Su said these planes are scheduled to start providing services September next year mainly for flights to Taiwan's outlying islands of Kinmen, Penghu and Matsu.

Chang further revealed that EVA Air will complete the purchase of 15 to 20 Boeing 777s and 18 narrow-bodied passenger planes by the end of the year.

As for the plan to replace the long-haul Airbus A330s, Chang said the time frame will be decided next year.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Jamie Wang)