Berjaya Hotels & Resorts will be acquiring two pre-owned ATR 42-500 aircraft that it plans to use to launch air services to the Malaysian island of Redang where the hotel group has two resorts. Berjaya Hotels & Resorts' decision to buy ATR 42-500s is testimony to the versatility of the ATR 42. ATR is the only aircraft maker in the world that makes 50-seat commercial aircraft.
The turboprop manufacturer sees a renewed interest in Asia Pacific and around the world for the ATR 42 as it is the right size aircraft for some operators. The upcoming launch of air services from Kuala Lumpur's Subang Airport to Redang Island will be a further example of how ATR aircraft can help to boost regional air connectivity and economic development.
"In the Malaysian market, and elsewhere in Asia Pacific, we can see that governments want to develop their tourism industries and the broader economy, but one of the impediments they face is a lack of air connectivity. ATR is the solution to regional air connectivity in the region," says Christian Scherer, Chief Executive Officer of ATR.
Berjaya Hotels & Resorts CEO, Hanley Chew, says: "We chose the ATR 42 because it is the right size aircraft for our needs and it can take off and land on short runways. The airport runway on Redang Island is only 1,100 metres long, so the ATR 42's capabilities on short runways are very important. The ATR 42 was also selected because this aircraft type is very well supported in Malaysia and the wider Asia Pacific region in terms of spare parts, maintenance support and training programs".
The two ATR 42-500 aircraft will be reconfigured to have a new interior with 36 passenger seats, and will have a special livery featuring a sea turtle. The company's resorts on the island, The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort as well as the Redang Island Resort, are supporters of sea turtle conservation on the island. The hotel group aims to launch services in June linking Redang Island to Kuala Lumpur's Subang Airport. Berjaya Hotels & Resorts will own the two ATR 42-500s, but the aircraft will be operated by its sister company Berjaya Air.
Eventually, Berjaya Air will look to launch services linking Redang island to Singapore, as having air services from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur's Subang to Redang will help to further boost tourism to the island. The hotel group hotel having its own aircraft means it can cater to both the FIT (free independent traveler) and the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and events) market. Berjaya Hotels & Resorts plans to win over travelers and event organisers by offering packages that include both air fares and accommodation. When it comes to attracting international tourists, Berjaya sees Redang as an extension of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. That is how it can be marketed. International tourists can fly into the city and spend a few nights before heading out to the beautiful islands off the coast of Peninsula Malaysia.