ATR’s 50-seat 42-600 turboprop was certificated by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) late last month, bringing to fruition a test campaign that saw the larger, 70-seat ATR 72-600 gain certification in May last year. The aircraft have been updated with glass cockpits and modern avionics systems along with other refinements, including the Armonia cabin designed by Italian car designer Giugiaro.
The 46-seat ATR 42-600 regional turboprop received EASA certification late last month, ending a 125-hour flight-test program that began on April 5, 2010, using a single prototype. The smaller of a pair of updated turboprop models introduced by ATR over the past 13 months, the ATR 42-600 drew on testing results from earlier trials on its more popular, 68-seat sibling–the ATR 72-600, which gained its certification in May 2011.
Anyone doubting the staying power of turboprop aircraft in the regional airline sector probably should have visited Toulouse on May 3 to see ATR delivering the 1,000th example of its twin turboprop series.
Russia’s aviation safety record has been, by all accounts, poor the past few years, with the number of fatal accidents per million flights nearly tripling in 2011 compared with 2010. A recent takeoff crash of a UTair ATR 72-200 from a Siberian airport killed 31 of 43 occupants.
The only way is up for Italian aerospace group Finmeccanica after it announced record losses of €2.3 billion ($3 billion) on March 27. Massive “exceptional events” and “non-recurring” charges totaling almost €3.2 billion ($4.3 billion) accounted for most of the financial hit.
An ATR 72-201 operated by Russian regional airline UTair crashed this morning shortly after taking off from Tyumen in Western Siberia, killing at least 31 of the 43 occupants, including the entire four-person crew. Flight 120 came down in a snow-covered field near the town of Korkovka at around 7:50 a.m. local time, minutes after taking off for a 400-mile flight to the oil town of Surgut.
The last of 11 ATR 72-500s grounded on March 18 by New Zealand’s Mount Cook Airlines due to hairline cracks found on a front fuselage frame will likely return to service by the end of this week, an ATR spokesman told AIN Thursday. Subsequent checks on the entire fleet showed similar cracks on at least nine of the airplanes.
Toulouse, France-based regional turboprop manufacturer ATR is pressing ahead with plans to increase its production rate progressively over the next three years while preparing to add a larger, 90-seat model to its product line, which now consists of the 50-seat ATR 42-600 and 74-seat ATR 72-600.
American Eagle will furlough 50 pilots effective April 5 in connection with bankrupt parent company American Airlines’ decision to remove another nine ATR 72s from its regional subsidiary’s fleet, this time from its Miami base, according to an internal “Eaglewire” American Eagle president Dan Garton sent to employees yesterday.
Indonesia’s Lion Air on Thursday inked a firm contract for another 27 ATR 72-600s, raising its order total for the new Franco-Italian turboprops to 40 and making it the manufacturer’s largest customer for ATR 72s. Regional subsidiary Wings Air already operates 16 ATR 72-500s and awaits delivery on four more. Deliveries of Lion Air’s first ATR 72-600 will start in November and run into 2015, Wings Air chairman and Lion Air president Pak Ruski Kirana told a packed assemblage of reporters and officials at the ATR stand. ATR places the value of this latest order at $610 million.