The sole ATR 42-600 prototype flew for the first time on March 4 from Toulouse, France, marking the start of an abbreviated flight-test campaign expected to last just 75 hours. Powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127M engines, the aircraft took off at 3 p.m. local time and flew for two hours.
ATR announced regional turboprop orders from two South Pacific operators here yesterday. Air Tahiti has bought an ATR 72-500, valued at about $18 million. The 66-seater will operate under ETOPS-120 rules. Air Tahiti CEO Mate Galenon said the airline is now able to serve more islands, such as Hiva Oa in the Marquesas, which the airline could until now reach only with its smaller ATR 42s.
Here at the Dubai 2005 show today, India’s Kingfisher Airlines is expected to order 20 ATR 72-500s, and to take options on an additional 15 of the 68-seat twin turboprop. The ATR 72s are to be delivered during a three-year period beginning next March and will be used to serve regional routes on the subcontinent.
Customers from the Asia/Pacific region played a big part in the banner year European airframer Avions de Transport Regional posted in 2005. They accounted for just over two thirds of the 90 firm orders and 26 options that ATR received for its 48-seat 42-500 and 68-seat 72-500 twin turboprop regional airliners–in what was the company’s best year for sales since 1989, when it logged 107 sales.