An ATR 72-500 operated by Taiwan’s TransAsia Airways crashed on its second attempt at landing during a thunderstorm in Magong, Taiwan, killing 48 of the 58 passengers and crewmembers on board. The 70-seat turboprop, operating as Flight GE222, took off from the city of Kaohsiung on a scheduled flight to Magong. According to ATR, the accident happened around 7:30 p.m.
Myanmar’s state-owned national airline, Myanma Airways (to be renamed Myanmar National Airlines in the near future), ordered six ATR 72-600 regional turboprops and placed options for another six on Wednesday here at the Farnborough Airshow.
The new aircraft are scheduled for delivery from 2015 to 2017 and will be used for both increasing and replacing Myanma’s existing ATR fleet.
The Toulouse-based manufacturer will also assist Myanma Airways in establishing a modern maintenance, repair and overhaul facility in Yangon.
Designing a new aircraft in the 90-seat class is no longer a priority, ATR CEO Patrick de Castelbajac explained yesterday here at the Farnborough International Airshow. “It was something my predecessor was very keen on, as were probably 95 percent of our employees and a number of our customers,” he stated. However, he pointed out that major shareholder Airbus Group believes “the timing is not now” for such an ambitious project.
When taking helm of a company that already owns a substantial portion of the regional aircraft market, one might be tempted to wonder if there’s anything more to be done. But Patrick de Castelbajac, who was appointed CEO of ATR at the beginning of June, knows there’s plenty of work left to do.
“When you’re at the top, the challenge is not only to stay at the top, but to find ways to continue to grow,” de Castelbajac told AIN. De Castelbajac follows Filippo Bagnato, whose four-year mandate, according to ATR’s statutes, expired at the end of May.
When taking the helm of a company that already owns a substantial portion of the regional aircraft market, one might be tempted to wonder if there’s anything more to be done. But Patrick de Castelbajac, who was appointed CEO of ATR at the beginning of June, knows there’s plenty of work left to do.
A preliminary report into a February 20 elevator disconnect incident on a Virgin Australia ATR 72 showed that maintenance technicians at Sydney Airport initially misdiagnosed the extent of the damage that occurred during that February arrival. The twin turboprop was later cleared to re-enter service and flew 13 more trips before severe damage to the tail was discovered in the area where the horizontal and vertical stabilizers were joined.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127N turboprop to power the ATR 72-600. The PW127N offers 4.5 percent more takeoff power for better hot-and-high performance. Plans call for the PW127N to progressively roll into Avianca’s ATR fleet throughout this year and next. ATR expects to deliver the first Avianca ATR 72-600 equipped with the new engines “in the coming weeks,” allowing the airline to benefit from better takeoff performance at high-altitude airports such as its hub in Bogota, Colombia.
The ATR Assembly of Members has appointed Patrick de Castelbajac, 43, CEO of ATR. He succeeds Filippo Bagnato, whose four-year mandate according to ATR’s statutes expired at the end of May.
Regional airliner rivals ATR and Bombardier may still be no closer to announcing their long-anticipated new 90-seat twin turboprops, but Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) is determined to be ready with the necessary powerplant for program launches that it views as inevitable. Next month, the engine maker will resume testing of the compressor unit for its proposed New Generation Regional Turboprop engine and it expects to have all testing complete by mid-year.
For Franco-Italian regional turboprop manufacturer ATR (Booth E01), the Asia Pacific region now takes top spot in its geographic sales rankings, but orders from China still seem to be eluding the company. Last year ATR saw orders and deliveries grow again, reaching record levels and steady profitability, but it has yet to convince shareholders Airbus Group and Finmeccanica to launch a new larger turboprop in the 90-seat category.
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