ATR has secured commitments for 17 of its short takeoff and landing (STOL) variant of the ATR 42-600 and is hoping to launch the program by year-end, CEO Stefano Bortoli said Wednesday at the Paris Air Show. The 17 were part of commitments for some 75 ATR 42s and 72s valued at $1.7 billion announced this week at the Paris Air Show.
Turboprop aircraft leasing specialist Elix Aviation Capital has signed a letter of intent (LOI) for 10 of the ATR 42-600S variants, which will be capable of operating out of runways as short as 800 meters. Under the LOI, deliveries of the aircraft would occur between 2022 and 2024.
Elix COO John Moore said his company does not typically place orders on speculation, but he sees a requirement for the aircraft since a number of high-performance aircraft that operate into shorter runways or more difficult runway environments are getting ready to be retired. Moore also sees the potential for new markets with a STOL aircraft.
“The aircraft has the capability to provide significant advantages to airlines, boosting revenue potential and opening up new airports with shorter runways,” he said. “There are communities all over the world that will be able to benefit from the increased connectivity that this aircraft will supply.”
In addition, Air Tahiti ordered two ATR 42-600S STOLs, and Manate Vivish, general manager of Air Tahiti, said they “will enable us to use higher-capacity aircraft for destinations which until now had only been accessible with much smaller aircraft.” Also, an unnamed customer inked a deal for five of the model.
ATR signed a memorandum of understanding with the Development Bank of Japan to pursue the project, which Bortoli said highlights the level of interest in such a program. The Franco-Italian regional aircraft maker points to 1,200 turboprops in the 30- to 50-seat market niche that will need to be replaced in upcoming years and believes the ATR 42-600S will be well positioned for that replacement.
Initially discussed at the 2017 Paris Air Show, the ATR 42-600S would reduce the required runway length from the 1,050 meters for the traditional ATR 42-600. The project would involve changes to the braking and rudder controls and software, among other areas.
ATR (Chalet 313, Static B8) plans to offer the STOL variant as a 50-passenger airplane, but Bortoli said to use the STOL on an 800-meter runway, loads may need to drop by as much as 10 passengers.
In addition to announcing the ATR 42-600S commitments, Bortoli said the company has also secured orders for 22 ATR 72-600s from an unnamed customer and another for an ATR 42-600 from Colombian airline EasyFly.