Avions de Transport Regional (ATR) is a little over a year away from completing certification of the new -600 version of its ATR 72 twin turboprop, with the smaller ATR 42-600 due to follow just a few months later in early 2011. Despite the slow sales environment in the air transport sector, the European airframer has been able to log 54 orders for the 70-seat ATR 72 and seven for the 50-seat ATR 42 from eight customers in seven countries.
Franco-Italian regional aircraft maker ATR last month presented to the public the ATR 72-600 during a ceremony in Toulouse, France, where it also confirmed progress on its work with engine makers on a 90- to 100-seat turboprop. Despite the cancellation of orders for 22 aircraft this year, ATR maintains a three-year delivery backlog. The -600 series has drawn orders for fifty-four 72s and five 42s by seven customers.
ATR late in August announced that the ATR 72-600 regional turboprop made its first flight on July 24 in Toulouse, France, seven months after the first power-on test. The test program calls for 150 flight hours, and certification is pegged for next year. The maiden flight of the ATR 42-600 has slipped into 2010. It will mark the start of a 75-hour flight-test campaign for the smaller version.
An ATR 72-212 operated by Thailand’s Bangkok Airways crashed into a disused ATC tower on August 4, killing the aircraft’s captain and injuring the copilot and six passengers. According to the operator, the airliner had been landing on the resort island of Koh Samui in heavy rain and wind when it skidded off the 4,724-foot runway.
An ATR 72-500 twin turboprop operated by Thailand’s Bangkok Airways crashed into a disused air traffic control tower on August 4, killing the captain and injuring the copilot and six passengers. According to the operator, the airliner had been landing on the resort island of Koh Samui in heavy rain and wind when it skidded off the 4,724-foot runway.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) for ATR cockpit windows.
As Franco-Italian turboprop maker ATR readies for the first flight of its new 600 Series this month, the company finds itself in a “comfortable position” by virtue of a backlog of 162 airplanes worth some $3 billion–“pretty much the largest [the company] has achieved in the program,” according to ATR senior vice president John Moore. Still, Moore didn’t deny the difficulty ATR has encountered selling airplanes in North America.
Regional turboprop manufacturer Avions de Transport Regional intends to deliver 50 aircraft this year, a number that is only slightly below that produced in 2008. At a press conference here yesterday, CEO Stéphane Mayer also said the company has received 28 firm orders but has suffered nine cancellations since the beginning of this year.
Royal Air Maroc is one of the most recent customers to sign up for the new 600 Series of ATR-42s and ATR-72s being developed by Avions de Transport Regional. The new aircraft is due to make its first flight next month as the French-Italian manufacturer heads for projected certification in the second half of 2010.
Romanian flag carrier Tarom took delivery of its first ATR 72-500 last month under the terms of a $37 million contract it signed last year for two of the twin turboprops. The airline currently operates a fleet of seven ATR 42-500s and will take delivery of its second new ATR 72 later this year.