ATR and Rheinland Air Service, a German company specializing in aircraft maintenance, signed a service and collaboration agreement appointing RAS a new member of ATR’s network of partner maintenance centers. RAS has maintenance facilities in Monchengladbach providing heavy maintenance for ATR airframes. ATR currently has approximately 60 operators in Europe. RAS focuses on aircraft maintenance for different versions of the ATR 42 and the ATR 72, and services the Boeing 737, Airbus A319, Bombardier regional airliners and Fokkers, among others.
Business aircraft flying in Europe contracted by 3.6 percent year-over-year in the March and April period, according to recent data from business aviation information provider WingX Advance, based in Hamburg, Germany. “Activity [in Europe] remains in the trough it entered in the fourth quarter of 2012, with no recovery in sight,” the company said.
Hailing an exceptional last two years that have accounted for fully 20 percent of all the 1,250 ATR twin turboprop airliners sold to date, ATR North America sales and marketing vice president Mark Neely pointed out how evenly distributed the European airframer’s customers are geographically.
Despite the difficulty ATR has encountered in penetrating the U.S. turboprop market, company CEO Filippo Bagnato continues to express optimism that the Franco-Italian partnership will experience a resurgence in what perhaps represents its final frontier of a sort. Now controlling some 60 percent of the market for 50- to 90-seat airplanes based on unit sales backlogs, the last Western maker of 50-seat-category turboprops sees itself as a potential lifeline for small U.S. cities and communities that can no longer support the services of regional jets of any size.
During a ceremony at ABACE 2013 yesterday, Beijing General Aviation Industry Base Investment Holding Co. (BGA) signed a contract for delivery of two Quest Kodiaks, with options for four additional aircraft, from Blue Eagle Aviation Investment Co. of Beijing, the exclusive distributor in China for the turboprop single. These Kodiaks–the first to handed over to a customer in China–will be based at Badalin Airport, near Beijing, and initially used for emergency disaster assistance, said Liu Mingde, BGA’s director of sales.
Airbus saw its order total for the A320neo rise above 2,000 as it executed the largest sale ever involving a Turkish carrier, the manufacturer announced Friday. Turkish Airlines has signed a contract covering “up to” 117 A320-family narrowbodies, consisting of 25 current-generation A321s, four A320neos, 53 A321neos and options on another 35 A321neos.
An ATR 72 operated under the Alitalia network by Romanian carrier Carpatair was substantially damaged on February 2 when the crew lost control of the aircraft on landing at Rome Fiumicino Airport in Italy (LIRF). The wind at the time of the accident was approximately 90 degrees to Runway 16, gusting to 41 knots.
Four of the 50 people aboard were injured, two seriously.
ATR has confirmed that it will further boost production this year and present a business case to its shareholders for a new 90-seat model.
While addressing journalists at the company’s base in Toulouse, southern France, CEO Filippo Bagnato said that ATR had recorded a “good” level of orders in 2012 (firm orders for 74 aircraft and options on 41), worth $2.6 billion at list prices. Meanwhile, revenue increased to a record $1.44 billion, up 11 percent on 2011 and with a big jump from $500 million in 2005.
Mumbai-based Jet Airways last month announced the planned induction of five leased ATR 72-600s into its fleet. Scheduled to launch service with the first of the new 68-seat turboprops by the end of last year, Jet Airways said it expects to accept all five Gecas-sourced airplanes by the end of this March. The airline’s domestic expansion strategy centers on serving more so-called Tier II and Tier III destinations, according to Jet Airways COO Sudheer Raghavan.
Sussex County Airport has broken ground on a $4.46 million runway expansion that will extend the length of its main runway to 5,500 feet, opening the facility to larger aircraft. Scheduled for completion next summer, the improvement at the Georgetown airport is the first part of a process that will eventually extend the runway to 6,000 feet. The second stage, scheduled to take place during the next few years, will relocate a local road and cost approximately $20 million.