Regional airliner rivals ATR and Bombardier may still be no closer to announcing their long-anticipated new 90-seat twin turboprops, but Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) is determined to be ready with the necessary powerplant for program launches that it views as inevitable. Next month, the engine maker will resume testing of the compressor unit for its proposed New Generation Regional Turboprop engine and it expects to have all testing complete by mid-year.
For Franco-Italian regional turboprop manufacturer ATR (Booth E01), the Asia Pacific region now takes top spot in its geographic sales rankings, but orders from China still seem to be eluding the company. Last year ATR saw orders and deliveries grow again, reaching record levels and steady profitability, but it has yet to convince shareholders Airbus Group and Finmeccanica to launch a new larger turboprop in the 90-seat category.
With its diverse geography and increasingly prosperous and mobile populations, Southeast Asia has become a target of opportunity the world’s regional aircraft OEMs can no longer afford to overlook.
Algerian flag carrier Air Algerie signed a purchase agreement last month covering three new ATR 72-600s. Valued at $74.1 million at current list prices, the contract calls for a cabin configuration featuring 68 passenger seats and first delivery during this year’s fourth quarter. The airline plans to start service with the first airplane by the end of the year and induct the others “through 2015.” Now flying 12 ATR 72-500s primarily on domestic and short regional routes, Air Algerie already ranks as the largest ATR operator in Africa.
Regional turboprop manufacturer ATR saw orders and deliveries grow again last year, reaching record levels and steady profitability, but it has not convinced shareholders Airbus Group and Finmeccanica to launch a new aircraft.
ATR and lessor GE Capital Aviation Services (Gecas) have closed a $241 million deal here at the Dubai Airshow for five ATR 72-600 regional turboprops, plus five options. ATR CEO Filippo Bagnato and Gecas president and CEO Norman Liu signed the contract here on Sunday. “These aircraft will support the strong growth in regional air transport we anticipate over the coming years,” Liu said. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2015. Previously at the show, ATR (Stand 1424) also announced an order from Saudi Arabia’s Alpha Star Aviation Services.
Saudi Arabia’s Alpha Star Aviation Services (Stand 806) has signed a firm order for a single ATR 72-600, marking the first sale of ATR’s latest turboprop series in the Middle East. Alpha Star, which also reserved an option on another of the Pratt & Whitney PW127M-powered turboprops, now operates an ATR 42-600. It expects its first ATR 72 to arrive in September 2014.
Malaysia Airlines’ regional subsidiary, Firefly, took delivery of the first of an order for twenty 72-seat ATR 72-600s and pressed it into service on July 12 on a route between Subang and Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Now operating 12 ATR 72-500s, the airline also holds options on another 16 of the new -600s.
Aeromar, the second largest regional carrier in Mexico, has taken delivery of its first of two ATR 72-600s, making it the first operator of the 70-seat turboprop in Mexico and Central America. The airline is a long-standing ATR customer, with 15 of the manufacturer’s ATR regional aircraft in its fleet: the new ATR 72-600, as well as 10 ATR 42-500s and four ATR 42-320s.
On show for the first time at the Paris Air Show this week was a complete Thales Amascos system, the French company’s contender in the booming maritime surveillance market.