Farnborough Air Show

ATR cabin development loses weight, gains comfort

 - July 19, 2010, 7:52 AM

French-Italian regional turboprop manufacturer ATR earlier this month unveiled a new partnership with Italian design house Giugiaro Design for the development of the cabin of its ATR 42/72-600 series. The makeover, called Armonia, reduces the aircraft’s total weight by the equivalent of two passengers and will be available as a retrofit on the ATR’s current -500 series. Visitors to the Farnborough airshow can see, for the first time, a full-scale mockup of an ATR 72-600 with the Armonia cabin and a new avionics suite.

Certification and entry into service of the 72-600 is expected in the second half of 2011, probably during the summer, Bagnato said. Just before the Farnborough show opened, ATR said it had orders for 59 of its 42/72-600 series, comprising 52 examples of the 72-700 and seven copies of the 42-600. The company, which claims to have 56 percent of the market for 50- to 74-seat regional turboprops, is considering a possible 90/100-seat turboprop. Nothing has been decided and, in any case, no announcement would be forthcoming before certification of the 72-600, which is the company’s priority.

“Simplicity” is how Filippo Bagnato, who has returned as ATR CEO after a three-year term as board chairman, describes the partnership of Giugiaro Design and the ATR joint venture and that between Alenia Aeronautica (a Finmeccanica company) and EADS. Toulouse, France-based ATR selected Giugiaro Design for its experience, especially with automobiles, in blending design and integration capability. While Giugiaro Design has been involved with several aircraft projects from private individuals, the ATRs represent the company’s entry into the commercial aircraft sphere. Fabrizio Giugiaro, co-chairman and Giugiaro Design styling director, said his company sought to translate its know-how from automobile design to the ATR project and that this experience could also be valid for possible future ATR programs.

The “latest in attractive, comfortable cabin interior design adds to ATR’s many advantages in terms of operating costs, performance and environmental friendliness for the -600 series, which has the widest cabin in the regional aircraft market,” Bagnato told AIN. He confirmed the option of retrofitting the interior on the present 42/72-500 series “to protect customers’ investments.” The Thai air force has chosen to retrofit its corporate and VIP -500s, but no list price is available either for that option or for the 72-600.

In addition to cleanly styled seats, ceiling, side panels and overhead bins that make the cabin more spacious, airy and comfortable, Armonia uses new durable lightweight materials, reducing total weight by 440 pounds, the equivalent of two passengers. The new interior features wider, lightweight ergonomically designed seats to ensure greater knee clearance, an enhanced sense of space and increased under-seat capacity.

The seats will have a basic four-inch inclination with seven-inch in first class. As an option, the -600 offers a two-class configuration with a basic two-plus-one 29-inch seat layout in first class with wider seats, more space, windows for each row and large armrest tables. The interior’s overhead bins provide 10 percent more cabin storage space and 30 percent more carry-on capacity, enabling up to 70 percent of passengers to store their roller bags overhead. LED lighting creates a more welcoming environment, while improving energy efficiency and weighing less than other lighting systems. A further option is a jetway-capable forward door with a new designed spacious entrance area.

The company Italdesign-Giugiaro was founded in 1974 as a service company to provide automobile makers with prototype engineering and support needed to launch new vehicles into the market. In the 1970s the company did interiors for privately owned Agusta helicopters, including one for the Shah of Iran and another for an African head of state. Giugiaro Design also developed an interior for an Alitalia Airbus A321 and a Piaggio Aero P180 Avanti.