Taiwan’s Mandarin Airlines, which announced July 19 it was buying six ATR 72-600s, has signed a conditional letter of intent to lease three more of the Franco-Italian turboprops.

Mandarin is acquiring the further three aircraft from lessor Avation, with delivery from October to December this year. The ATR direct-sourced aircraft, which were ordered earlier this week, will be delivered from 2018-2020.

Mandarin, a regional subsidiary of Taiwanese flag carrier China Airlines, also operates six Embraer E190 regional jets, two Boeing 737-800 narrowbodies, and has access to larger types from China Airlines’ fleet, according to its website.

The ATRs will largely be used for Taiwanese domestic services, with a single-class layout of 70 seats at 30-inch pitch.

The airline said that, in addition to its existing fleet, it would “enhance overall fleet capacity, and significantly increase [its] domestic network and frequencies. The E190 fleet will focus on more international and cross-strait routes [to mainland China] as well as flexibly support domestic routes to meet peak season and holiday demand.”

Avation said the Mandarin lease means it has now placed all its 2017 deliveries from OEMs. It added that it has six more ATRs on order for delivery from Toulouse in 2018-19 and has options on 27 more in succeeding years.

“Avation has ‘sold out’ and placed all available aircraft for delivery in calendar 2017,” executive chairman Jeff Chatfield said. “The company is aggressively marketing its 2018 ATR order book.”

Chatfield added that Avation “is also considering the acquisition of additional jet aircraft to further diversify its portfolio.”

Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com