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Romania's Tarom signs lease contract for nine new ATR-72 aircraft - transport min

Romania's Tarom signs lease contract for nine new ATR-72 aircraft - transport min Tarom

BUCHAREST (Romania), December 30 (SeeNews) - Romanian flag carrier Tarom has signed a contract to lease nine ATR aircraft in order to replace seven old ones, the transport ministry said.

The airline will receive four of the nine new ATR 72-600s by February, with the rest will be delivered until the end of 2020, the transport ministry said in a press release on Friday.

The lease is signed for a period of ten years. The new ATRs will not result in additional operating costs and will increase Tarom's transport capacity, according to the ministry. The new ATR-72-600 aircraft have 72 seats each.

Tarom first announced plans to replace its old ATR aircraft in June.

Tarom is operating on international and domestic routes with a fleet of 25 aircraft - seven ATR-42-500 , two ATR-72, 4 Boeing 737-700, 4 Boeing 737-300, 4 Boeing 737-800 NG, and 4 Airbus A318-111.

Earlier this month, Romania's transport ministry said it will seek rescue aid from the European Commission and the national budget to save Tarom which is expected to close 2019 with a loss of 190 million lei ($44 million/40 million euro).

The ministry will apply for 47 million euro ($52.3 million) in aid from Brussels plus a restructuring aid of about 110 million euro from the state budget  in order to rescue the company, Lucian Bode said at the time.

The air carrier's net loss narrowed to 130 million lei in 2018 from 170 million lei in the previous year, while turnover rose by 21% to 1.4 billion lei, data from the transport ministry showed.

In October, Tarom named George Costin Barbu as interim CEO after Valentin Nicolae Gvinda refused to take up the position amidst a political scandal involving a possible instigation to abuse of office. Barbu's term will expire in January.

According to local media reports, Gvinda refused to accept the job of interim CEO because of the complicated financial and managerial situation at Tarom.

(1 euro=4.7799 lei)