Aurora, Aeroflot Group’s regional airline based in Russia’s far east, has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to purchase five Dash 8-400 turboprops from De Havilland Canada. The agreement was announced on November 19 at the 2019 Dubai Airshow.
The Sakhalin-based regional carrier, which currently operates a range of 10 Dash 8 aircraft variants consisting of five Dash 8-400s, three Dash 8-300s and two Dash 8-200s, says it is relying on the additional -400s to streamline its turboprop fleet whilst supporting a growing network and meeting the increasing demands of its charter business. De Havilland Canada is expected to assist Aurora with funding the purchase.
“The [Dash 8-400] aircraft’s diverse capabilities and jet-like performance will support our growing network and meet increasing demand for [our] charter operations,” Konstantin Sukhorebrik, Aurora’s general director pointed out. “We aim to increase traffic and expand our local, regional and international footprint with the additional aircraft. In the future, we plan on ordering more Dash 8-400s as we look to streamline and harmonise the configuration of our fleet. The opportunity to increase seat capacity with the new configurations offered by De Havilland Canada allows us to tap into growth and new markets,” he added.
Todd Young, chief operating officer at De Havilland Canada, further revealed: “We will assist Aurora as they review funding options for the five Dash 8-400 aircraft and work to finalise a firm purchase agreement.”
Aurora Airlines, which is 51 per cent owned by Aeroflot, with the remaining 49 held by the administration of the Sakhalin region, was founded in 2013 in response to a government order to merge the faltering local carriers SAT Airlines and Vladivostok Avia.
The IOSA-approved carrier currently operates a mixed fleet that includes 23 aircraft made up of 10 Airbus А319s, 10 Bombardier DHC-8s and three de Havilland DHC-6s.
In the first nine months of this year, the smallest member of the Aeroflot Group carried 1.28 million passengers, a two per cent year-on-year improvement.
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