Avions de Transport Regional (ATR) announced early last month that it is launching new versions of its ATR 42 and 72 to be known as the “-600 series.” The aircraft will be “progressively introduced” during the second half of 2010.
The new aircraft will feature what ATR CEO Stéphane Mayer described as “the most up-to-date integrated avionics for a turboprop,” more powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127M engines, greater payload and performance and LED lighting inside the cabin and externally for navigation and anticollision lighting.
The Thales avionics will include five 6- by 8-inch LCD color displays–two primary flight displays, two multifunction displays and one engine systems and warning display. The ATR -600 series will be capable of Category IIIA approaches (50-foot decision height) and RNP. The glass cockpit will display flight information, navigation data, weather radar, TAWS, ACAS and ADS-B.
Toulouse-based ATR, a joint venture between AleniaAeronautica and EADS, claims a backlog of about 180 aircraft and it sees a market for 1,400 regional turboprops over the next 10 years.
According to John Moore, head of sales for ATR, U.S. airlines have begun to take another look at the viability of turboprops because current fuel prices make regional jets expensive to operate.
The PW127M will be standard on both the ATR 42-600 and the ATR 72-600 and is expected to be certified by year-end. This enhanced version of the ATR engine will allow an increased power rating for the ATR 72-600 that will provide improved performance for hot-and-high conditions. One-engine-out net ceiling will improve by around 1,000 feet.
The new ATR 72-600 will have as standard an additional weight increase of 660 pounds on mtow and zero fuel weight compared with the current optional design weights. The -600 will also have optional weight increases of an additional 440 pounds. ATR said this will improve the payload and performance to address increasing demands of passenger weights and baggage.
While ATR has added electronic flight bags, multipurpose computers, acars, in-flight entertainment and short-field performance improvements to the aircraft currently coming off the assembly line, the -600s will also feature new communication and navigation equipment and an integrated aircraft centralized maintenance system.