European aircraft manufacturer ATR announced a new Japanese regional airline – Toki Air – will be the first airline in the country to introduce new variant of the ATR-42 aircraft capable of taking off and landing on short runways.

At the Dubai Airshow, ATR announced it has signed a Letter of Intent (Lol) with the Niigata, Japan-based regional airline as both ATR and Toki Air are in consultations to add ATR 42 aircraft to the airline's fleet. Included in the plans is the introduction of the ATR-42-600S variant which ATR states has STOL capabilities (Short Take-Off and Landing).

For its initial fleet, Toki Air has already signed a lease agreement for 2 ATR-72-600 aircraft that will enter service in 2022.

According to ATR, the ATR-42-600S is currently under development. With its STOL capabilities, the aircraft will be able to take-off and land on runways as short as 800 meters with 40 passengers. ATR has scheduled the first deliveries of the aircraft during the beginning of 2025.

Regarding Toki Air's plans to introduce the ATR-42-600S, ATR CEO Stefano Bortoli said in a statement: “The ATR 42-600S version is a vital tool to expand the horizons of many remote communities around the world, and it is particularly true in Japan. Air routes constitute an essential part of the archipelago’s domestic travel and transportation and we know how difficult it is to ensure these links in a sustainable way. With the ATR 42-600S, we strongly believe we can offer the right solution to Japan’s requirements, now and in the future.”

As the newest Japanese regional airline, Toki Air plans to start operations in 2022 from its base at Niigata, Japan. The airline also plans to operate to/from Sado Airport off the coast of Niigata, which has a runway length of just 890 meters.

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