Japanese start up Feel Air Holdings and Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for up to 36 aircraft at the Farnborough Air Show.

Not to be confused with the Norwegian low cost carrier that was founded in 2009 and never took off, Feel Air is a new carrier in Japan that intends to target the country’s different regions.

ATR said in a press release that the LOI confirms Feel Air’s commitment to the exclusive use of ATR aircraft for its domestic operations, with a fleet that will consist of both ATR 42-600 and ATR 72-600 aircraft, as well as the short take-off and landing variant, the ATR 42-600S, for easier access to smaller regional airports.

“Air transport is crucial for Japan’s islands and regions, and the establishment of Feel Air will help connect Japan’s regions affordably and sustainably,” ATR chief executive officer Stefano Bortoli said in a statement dated July 18, 2022. 

“At ATR, we want to help ensure that aviation and Feel Air in particular can contribute to a prosperous future for Japan,” Bortoli added. 

Feel Air Holdings chief executive officer Hideki Ide said, “Over the coming years, Feel Air Holdings will establish at least five regional airlines, with a fleet that will ultimately comprise 36 ATR aircraft.”

Ide further said: “Our fundamental goal is to improve regional air mobility in Japan by connecting local destinations that currently do not have air service, thereby creating stronger links between regional businesses and people, generating new markets, and enriching local economies.” 

There are currently 15 ATR aircraft flying across Japan with three operators. Two more operators will start operations as well in the coming months. 

ATR said that in total, it sees a potential for 100 ATR aircraft operating in Japan in the medium term.

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