Sales in Singapore Solidify Turboprop Backlogs

 - February 15, 2012, 11:50 PM
Indonesia's Wings Air helped ATR pad its lead in the turboprop sector with an order for 27 more ATR 72-600s.

The Western world’s two remaining turboprop makers each made sales headlines at last week’s Singapore Airshow, where Indonesia’s Lion Air padded ATR’s already robust order book and Bombardier’s Q400 showed signs of life following a lengthy dry spell.

Lion Air inked a firm contract for another 27 ATR 72-600s, raising its order total for the new Franco-Italian turboprops to 40 and making it the manufacturer’s largest customer for ATR 72s. Regional subsidiary Wings Air already operates 16 ATR 72-500s and awaits delivery on four more. Deliveries of Lion Air’s ATR 72-600s will start in November and run into 2015, Wings Air chairman and Lion Air president Pak Ruski Kirana told a packed assemblage of reporters and officials in Singapore. ATR places the value of this latest order at $610 million.

At the ATR event, Kirana said the airline could certainly use turboprops that can hold more than the 68 passengers the ATR 72 carries for the larger cities in its network. ATR continues to study the possibility of developing a turboprop that could transport as many as 100 passengers. It hopes to make a decision this year or next.

“My plans are to satisfy my customer’s request,” said ATR CEO Filipo Bagnato. “We are preparing the baseline [specifications for] a larger turboprop.”

For its part, Bombardier Aerospace landed an order for five Q400s from Ethiopian Airlines and another for a pair of the big, high-speed turboprops from Seattle’s Horizon Air. Based on the Q400’s list price, Bombardier values the Ethiopian order at $160 million. It will bring the number of Q400s operated by Ethiopian Airlines to 13. The carrier serves 64 international destinations.

Seattle-based Horizon Air is the largest operator of the Q400 in North America, with 48 aircraft now in service. Bombardier places the value of the latest “firm purchase agreement” at $60 million, based on list prices.

The 78-seat Q400 uses 30 to 40 percent less fuel and produces 30 to 40 percent fewer emissions on routes where it has replaced older jets, according to Bombardier. The aircraft also produces 15 decibels less noise than ICAO Chapter 4 standards, the company said.

Including the transactions announced Thursday at the Singapore Airshow, Bombardier said it has booked firm orders for 420 Q400s, and delivered 389 as of the end of last year.