“ATR is rocking,” declared the company’s CEO, Christian Scherer, as he settled into a briefing at the Farnborough Airshow. Calming slightly from his introductory words, he reported the organization as having a “stabilized industrial system with improving operational performance indicators.”
“Commercially, we are doing well with a book-to-build ratio comfortably greater than one, and it’s a trend we see continuing,” Scherer added, noting that he observes the operation not only as CEO but also, at present, as head of sales.
Behind that trend, the CEO views a growing recognition by the traveling customers of the better environmental performance of turboprops. “Because of this, I will bet that there will be more turboprops in the future than the current predictions,” he proclaimed. ATR intends to make a strong effort to “ride the wave of awareness that flying can be eco-responsible.”
The ATR 42-600 is the focus for the OEM at Farnborough 2018, where it is displaying an aircraft in the livery of Silver Airways, which is set to become the first new airline operator of ATRs in the U.S. for many years. Silver's choice has also underlined the message that 30- to 40-seat aircraft can be replaced by the smaller member of the ATR family.
Scherer explained that Silver, currently operating Saab 340s, will show “that you can take a 34-seater with low capital costs and replace it with a 46-seater that will operate at the same costs. That’s the renaissance opportunity of the ATR 42-600.”
As for Bombardier refocusing on regional aircraft following the C Series’ transfer to Airbus, Scherer welcomes the increased competition. “I hope it will be good for all of us to have them singing the praises of turboprops again,” he remarked.
However, he does not see that competition prefacing a new model. “We’re not on the eve of a new program, simply because this aircraft [the ATR -600 Series] is as contemporary as it gets. It consumes 40 percent less fuel than any other turboprop,” he claimed.
Scherer followed the briefing by signing an MoU with Hokkaido Air System for two ATR 42-600s, with an option for another. Deliveries will begin in November 2019.