Franco-Italian turboprop builder Avions de Transport Régional (ATR) has launched a so-called aging structures program for its ATR 42 and ATR 72 family to extend the airframes’ design life from the original 70,000 cycles to 105,000 cycles. The upgrade, scheduled to take effect early next year, would equate to an “economic life” of more than 40 years per airframe, assuming an average use of 2,500 flight hours annually.
Launched after analysis of airframe wear in the worldwide ATR fleet, the life-extension program would also extend overhaul intervals, an aspect of the effort aimed at helping to resist value depreciation. The world’s ATR fleet recently reached 12 million flight hours, logged largely in developing countries whose operators control scant resources to renew their fleets.
ATR has submitted the program for approval to the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) and has formed a structure task group of 12 airlines and five aviation authorities. The group will supervise the development of program activities to ensure compliance with certification rul