ATR To Cease ATR 72-500 Production in 2012
Russia’s NordStar Air ordered three ATR 42-600s yesterday, adding to the Siberia-based carrier’s previous commitment for a pair of the 48-seat twin turboprop and options for two more. This takes ATR’s orders tally for 2011 to an impressive 148, and the European airframer now claims an 80-percent share of the market for 50- to 90-seat regional airliners sold this year.
ATR will cease production of the 68-seat ATR 72-500 next year, as production of the model’s successor–the 72-600–takes off, company CEO Filippo Bagnato said yesterday at the Dubai Air Show.
The European Aviation Safety Agency certified the -600 in late May, and the new model entered service this summer with launch customer Royal Air Maroc; three more have since been delivered to customers in the Americas. According to ATR, which is a 50:50 joint venture between Italy’s Finmeccanica (Alenia Aeronautica) and EADS, the ATR 72-600 fleet is on the verge of surpassing 1,000 flying hours, and dispatch reliability has been “very close to 100 percent.”
Of its planned 53 aircraft deliveries this year, ATR expects to hand over a total of 10 ATR 72-600s to customers, Bagnato told AIN, but those figures will drastically change next year, when the Franco-Italian manufacturer is scheduled to ship sixty-seven -600s (a mix of 42-600s and 72-600s) and five 72-500s. Barring any pop-up orders for the 72-500, these five will be the last ones produced by the company.