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Why new airlines adopt turbo prop over jet engines

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One of the two ATR72-600 aircraft acquired by Green Africa airline

At least two new airlines are warning up to make entry into the local operations flying the turboprop aircraft.

The Guardian learned that between the two new carriers are about 22 turboprop aircraft, coming into the country in about two years of operations.

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The aircraft type, currently in the operations of Overland Airways and Arik Air, is adjudged to be more efficient and cost-effective for short distances than the popular jet-engine offers.

One of the new airlines, Green Africa, lately took delivery of two ATR72-600 aircraft in preparation for the commencement of demonstration flights. The aircraft, with registration, marks 5N-GAA and 5N-GAE, are two of the 15 expected by the airline.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Green Africa, Babawande Afolabi, while unveiling the aircraft said it was part of their final steps to build Green Africa into a vibrant carrier.

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“We remain committed to our mission to use the power of air travel to create a better future for everyone. With the latest technology, the ATR 72-600 will be flying in Nigeria for the first time and we plan to deploy up to 15 aircraft between now and 2022.

“In addition to Lagos, we plan to open between two to three bases in the country over the next 18 months. This will enable us to connect more cities with affordable fares to customers and bring the joy and value of air travel to a much broader group of people.”

The aircraft is factory configured to seat between 44 – 78 passengers. The ATR72-600 is considered one of the most fuel-efficient regional aircraft with a fuel burn advantage that drives lower costs and emissions and makes it the optimal aircraft for regional markets. The ATR 72-600 operating costs are 20 per cent lower than other turboprops.

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According to experts, turboprop engine is generally more lightweight than a jet, giving it better performance during takeoff. It runs more efficiently while providing a higher power output per unit of weight than a jet. Expect optimum fuel efficiency when flying at low altitudes (ideally below 25,000 feet).

The aircraft is able to take off, land on shorter and non-concrete runways. For travel plans of destinations with shorter, less highly improved runways, a turboprop has a clear advantage over a jet. Turboprops can land on runways as short as 3,200 feet compared to an average jet minimum of 5,000 feet. Turboprops can also handle the grass airfields that jets must avoid. This means that with a turboprop, you can get into some of the most hard-to-reach airports.

The overall cost of a turboprop is lower than a jet both for chartering and for owning. Fewer moving parts in a turboprop engine make it more reliable and less likely to require extensive maintenance. Since turboprops burn less fuel per hour than jets, their hourly operation cost is lower.

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