“-600 Series first, then a new aircraft,” says ATR’s Bagnato

“This year I am devoting all our efforts to finishing the development of the -600 Series, but I haven’t forgotten the future perspective,” declared ATR CEO Filippo Bagnato at the company’s annual results briefing.

Both models in the -600 Series programme are on track for certification in 2011, he noted. “The plan is to certify the 72-600 by April-May followed by 42-600 in the September-October period for delivery by end of 2011 or start of 2012. We will deliver the first ATR 72-600 to our launch customer Royal Air Maroc in July.

Returning to the question of a brand new aircraft, Bagnato noted the company’s market forecast. “I said we have 3,000 aeroplanes in front of us over the next 20 years. There is a growing demand for a turboprop that is a little bit bigger – I’m talking about a 90-100 seater. Of those 3,000 in the forecast, around 900-1,000 could be of those larger turboprops.

“But we have not launched any development activities, because when the day comes that I ask my shareholders to launch the project, I want all the data in my pocket. To prepare this ‘brick’ of my construction, I will be having discussions with the engine manufacturers (not only one) throughout 2011,” Bagnato added. “My goal is to arrive at the end of the year with a clear vision of how we can harmonise the product policy of the airframe manufacturer with the policy of the engine manufacturer. We think there could be slightly smaller (and lighter) engines [producing similar thrust].

“As for when it might arrive, there is likely to be a ‘wave’ of new programmes in the middle and end of the decade. For example, the CSeries came in, then Airbus followed with the A320neo. With these and other programmes coming in the next decade we want to be in front of the wave. But I haven’t got a specific date yet.”

Bernie Baldwin
Editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net

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