Jubilant ATR Closes on Fourth Order at Farnborough Airshow

 - July 11, 2012, 6:20 PM

ATR announced more than $600 million worth of firm orders at the show yesterday, led by an eight-unit deal with Taiwan’s TransAsia for ATR 72-600s. Meanwhile, the Franco-Italian manufacturer logged a separate pair of orders, each for two ATR 72-600s, from Air Lease Corporation and Lao Airlines.

ATR plans to start deliveries to TransAsia in 2014 and Lao Airlines later this year. The Air Lease order–a conversion of previously held options on two of 10 airplanes–calls for delivery in July and September next year.

Speaking at a show briefing yesterday, ATR chief executive Filippo Bagnato also revealed that Ireland’s Aer Arann is planning to place an order for eight more of the 70-seat turboprops in the coming days.

“We hope that ATR will bring a little bit of sunshine to the show, which seems a little bit cloudy,” Bagnato quipped. “In the regional market, the future belongs to the turboprop and the numbers tell us that ATR is leading the way.”

In fact, said Bagnato, ATR controls 68 percent of the backlog for all regional aircraft, encompassing turboprops and regional jets. “I think we can say ATR is the reference,” he added.

Having recently certified the smaller ATR 42-600, ATR expects to deliver the last -500 series airplane this year. Plans call for delivery of the first 46-seat ATR 42-600 in September, to a Middle East operator that has asked to remain unidentified.

On the progress toward launch of a 90-seat ATR turboprop, Bagnato reported there was “nothing new.” However, he reiterated the company’s intention to present its case to its board of directors by the end of the year. Three engine makers–Pratt & Whitney, GE and, now, Snecma–have begun work on new prop-driven powerplants for the 90-seat turboprop market.

“This is interesting in that this market is not just an idea of ATR, but this is a real market,” said Bagnato, “otherwise three major engine manufacturers wouldn’t be [offering proposals.]”