ATR - Avions de Transport Régional (EVX, Toulouse Blagnac) has signed Letters of Intent (LOI) with two Chinese start-ups set to enter the domestic Chinese market.

Announced during the ongoing 2017 Paris Airshow at Paris Le Bourget, the first LOI was signed with Shaanxi Tianju Investment Group (STIG) for the purchase of ten ATR 42-600s. The aircraft are to begin deliveries in 2018 and will be used to develop commuter services across China's northwestern Xinjiang Province.

"In responding to the Chinese government’s strong intention to promote the General Aviation market, Tianju has made an intensive market study and identified Xinjiang as the ideal location to develop commuter service under General Aviation operations," Yang Qiang, Chairman of Tianju Group, said.

The project - Tianju Airlines (Urumqi) - is a partnership between STIG's Tianju General Aviation Co., Ltd., and Shaanxi Tianju Air Travel Service Co., Ltd. units.

The second LOI is with the Xuzhou Hantong Aviation Development Co., Ltd entailing three ATR42-600s which will be used to develop commuter services in China's eastern-central province of Jiangsu. Deliveries are expected to start in 2018.

"Under Xuzhou local government’s strategy to develop Xuzhou as a new cargo and regional aviation hub, Hantong is to focus on regional cargo and commuter services under general aviation, as there is a huge gap in both areas," Zhou Bingzhen, General Manager of Hantong said. "Hantong is happy to have Reignwood Star Aviation (VGB, Zhuhai), the renowned and experienced general aviation player in China, become the operation partner to jointly develop commuter services in eastern China.”

Hantong Aviation (Xuzhou) was established in August 2016 by the Xuzhou municipal government with the aim of developing Xuzhou into a civil aviation hub.