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.
Mount Cook Airline
ATR announced a pair of big commercial deals involving its regional turboprops this week, building on an exceptional showing in 2010 that saw ATR’s management lay plans to raise production from just more than 50 airplanes to 70 by 2012.
The high-flying turboprop market shows no sign of losing altitude, as builders on both sides of the Atlantic continue to collect a steady flow of sizable orders from around the globe.