Alenia CEO Giovanni Bertolone said that his company’s partnership with Sukhoi for the Superjet 100 regional airliner could expand to include other businesses within the Finmeccanica group and a potential support role for the EADS/Alenia-owned Avions de Transport Regional (ATR).
Sales have been brisk for regional turboprop aircraft manufacturer Avions de Transport Regional, which is here at Farnborough International exhibiting an ATR 42-500 in the livery of Air Madagascar on the static display. The aircraft features the Elegance cabin interior and an in-flight entertainment system.
Accident investigators have determined that Tunisian mechanics replaced a faulty fuel gauge in the ATR 72 that crashed off the northeast coast of Sicily on August 6 with the wrong model, a mistake that apparently led the doomed airplane’s pilots to upload less fuel than they needed to complete their trip from Bari, Italy, to Djerba, Tunisia.
ATR sent a pair of ATR 42-500s to Sri Lanka last month to deliver five tons of medicine, milk and clothing to tsunami victims. The two airplanes flew to the capital city of Colombo to unload their humanitarian freight before heading to Bangalore, India, from where Air Deccan now flies the regional turboprops in scheduled airline service.
Avions de Transport Regional landed firm orders for 20 new airplanes from four customers at last month’s Paris Air Show. Finnish regional airline Finncomm signed for eight 48-seat ATR 42-500s, Corsica’s CCM for six ATR 72-500s, New Caledonia’s Air Caledonie for a still undefined mix of three ATR 42-500s and ATR 72-500s, and Air Madagascar for two ATR 72-500s and a single ATR 42-500.
Italian authorities strongly suspect that fuel starvation or contamination caused the crash of a Tunisian ATR 72 off the northern coast of Sicily on August 6, and have placed under investigation the chief pilot, a fuel depot manager and the driver of the tanker truck that fueled the airplane in Bari, Italy. The accident claimed 16 of the 39 occupants.