Franco-Italian regional aircraft maker ATR last month presented to the public the ATR 72-600 during a ceremony in Toulouse, France, where it also confirmed progress on its work with engine makers on a 90- to 100-seat turboprop. Despite the cancellation of orders for 22 aircraft this year, ATR maintains a three-year delivery backlog. The -600 series has drawn orders for fifty-four 72s and five 42s by seven customers.
The first -600-series aircraft, which made its first flight on July 24, uses an updated 72-500 airframe that has already seen service in past tests and on which the company has introduced all the new available technology for testing. ATR CEO Stéphane Mayer told AIN he considers the aircraft a “real” -600 as it includes all
the improvements to the -500 series: most notably, new Thales avionics. “According to our principle of [using] the latest technologies when available, the PW127M engines had already been introduced in the last -500s and become standard in the -600s,” noted Mayer.
Due to enter service in 2011, the 72-600 will carry five 6- by 8-inch LCD displays and a new computer that optimizes systems integration. Its new cabin includes lighter and more comfortable seats, larger overhead baggage bins, LED lighting and in-flight entertainment systems. ATR says the -600 series presents improved performance in fuel consumption, engine power and maximum payload, reduction of maintenance costs and what it claims to be the lowest CO2 emissions per passenger.