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.
Australia’s Skywest Airlines plans to introduce five more ATR 72-600s leased from Singapore’s Avation PLC, which placed a firm order for the airplanes with ATR last month. Scheduled for delivery from early 2013 through early 2014, the five new aircraft will fly as Virgin Australia under a wet-lease contract with Skywest.
Lao Airlines, the national airline of Laos, expects to take delivery of its first Avic “Modern Ark” MA600 turboprop “sometime after February,” marking the 56-seat turboprop’s entry into revenue service outside China. The only other two existing MA600s, delivered in December 2010 and September 2011, respectively, operate in China with the Civil Aviation Flight University of China (Cafuc) for training purposes.
A total of 119 more American Eagle ATR 72 pilots flying out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport face possible furloughs in connection with American Airlines’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
AMR Corporation’s bankruptcy filing in late November will at least delay the planned divestiture of its American Eagle subsidiary, as well as throw into disarray any agreements forged between leaders of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and airline management.
India’s Kingfisher Airlines is attributing the grounding of 15 aircraft and de-leasing of another two to “rationalization” of its network to counter deep financial losses. “The airline industry in India is going through a tough period due to high costs and lower yields,” said Kingfisher Airlines CEO Sanjay Aggarwal. “We are no exception. We are taking steps to improve our financial performance and are rationalizing network, dropping unprofitable flights and expediting fleet reconfiguration.”
The Dubai Air Show last week brought a welcome breakthrough for Bombardier’s efforts to build a sound base of sales for its new C Series airliner. Turkey’s Atlasjet signed a letter of intent (LOI) for 15 of the CS300 version. According to Chet Fuller, Bombardier sales vice president, the agreement could be firmed up by year-end.
For ATR, 2011 is already a record year for sales of its regional airliners, but the European manufacturer could have more business to announce soon.
ATR opened a new pilot training center in Paris last month. Based near Charles de Gaulle International Airport, the center features a new ATR 72-500 full flight simulator (FFS) developed and manufactured by Thales. ATR has established the new center in partnership with SIM Aéro Training, which will house the simulator and all the other teaching tools put in place by ATR, in addition to providing technical support.
ATR collected orders for a total of 19 new ATR 72-600s from two customers last month, one of which also announced plans to lease another nine of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127M-powered turboprops.