On the occasion of the 51st Paris Air Show, the ATR regional aircraft manufacturer announced a total of 46 firm orders and 35 options, for a total value of 1.98 billion dollars. The orders – which will be revealed throughout the week-long Show – have been signed with airlines from five continents, once again underlining the versatility of the ATR '-600' and its worldwide success.
Yet again, the ATRs were the year's best-selling regional aircraft with fewer than 90 seats, despite a difficult economic and financial context and a highly competitive environment. Sales since the beginning of the year have enabled ATR to break through the symbolic barrier of 1,500 firm orders and to consolidate an order book of nearly 300 aircraft, the equivalent of more than three years of production.
Patrick de Castelbajac, CEO of ATR, declared himself to be “highly satisfied with the results obtained. The ATRs are once again firmly established as the favorite aircraft of regional airlines worldwide. Despite the rise in the value of the dollar and the economic slowdown in countries that are very important for our business, we have managed to preserve our position as the number one choice for the airlines”. And he added: “We are estimating demand for about 2,500 turboprops in the coming twenty years and we must continue to develop our range of aircraft and the associated services, in order to remain the reference regional aircraft manufacturer”.
With regard to development policy for its range of aircraft, ATR also made a number of revelations at the Paris Air Show. The aircraft manufacturer in particular announced the deployment of a new, improved vision system, available for the first time on a commercial aircraft. The “Clear Vision” system provides the pilots with head-up information about the flight, directly to the eyes, by means of a device, the Skylens, worn on the face. The increased visibility obtained with the Skylens also enables minimum landing distances to be reduced. This new system thus proposes an extremely reliable alternative for CATIII landings at airports not equipped with instrument landing systems (ILS).
Among the other innovations concerning the versatility and operational reliability of its latest generation of aircraft, ATR presented a new wind shear detection system at the Show. The aircraft maker also announced the installation of new ATR '-600' avionics systems, for even more precise airport final approaches (RNP 0.3/0.3).
ATR also presented the new High Density version of the “Armonia” cabin, capable of accommodating up to 78 passengers (in place of the current 74), in response to demand from certain airlines. The “High Density” cabin should receive certification before the end of the year, for service entry in 2016.
ATR unveiled a new cabin combining increased cargo volume – up to more than 19 m3 in volume – plus seats for up to 44 passengers. The launch customer for this mixed cabin is Papua New Guinea's PNG Airlines, which will receive its first delivery in 2015.
ATR also announced the opening of two new branch offices in Beijing and Tokyo, to ensure greater reactivity on two markets offering very significant potential for the development of regional air networks with turboprops.
As part of its participation in the “Clean Sky” project, a European initiative which aims to develop technologies to reduce gas emissions and noise from tomorrow's aircraft, ATR announced that an ATR 72 prototype will be carrying out the very first test flight for the project in the next few days. ATR is playing an active role in the Green Regional Aircraft program. This first flight test campaign should be able to test new, lighter and more insulating composite materials and vibro-acoustic sensors installed on a section of the aircraft's fuselage. Improvements in terms of lower weight and reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by the ATR 72 should eventually benefit the regional aircraft of tomorrow. These flights will also be able to test the new generation of optical fibers for improved identification of micro-cracks and easier maintenance.