Vietnam Airlines (VNA) on Saturday sold an old airplane back to the plane-maker as a first step to renewing a part of its service.
The national flag carrier will sell back all seven ATR 72-200 planes that have been in service since 1992 to French-Italian producer ATR (Avions de Transport Régional or Aerei da Trasporto Regionale), Tuoi Tre newspaper said.
The old planes will be replaced by eleven ATR 72-500 VNA purchased from ATR in 2007 and last December, which will all be delivered within a year.
VNA plans to build a fleet of 14 fuel efficient ATR 72-500 airplanes, by the end of 2010 for short flights between Hanoi and the northern mountains, Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, as well as to Laos and Cambodia, Saigon Giai Phong newspaper said Sunday.
The new models seat 70 passengers and have six instead of four blade propellers for smoother, quieter flying.
The 72 was developed from the ATR 42 to increase the seating capacity and put into service in 1989.
VNA’s fleet is expected to have 104 airplanes by 2015 and 150 by 2020, newswire Vnexpress said Sunday.