ATR off to flying start

Turboprop specialist ATR has started the Farnborough Airshow with a French flourish, confirming several awards over the weekend for a total of nine aircraft.

Guernsey-based airline Aurigny has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the company to buy three ATR 72-600s, subject to final approval from government authorities. The trio of aircraft are expected to replace three 72-500s currently in service with the airline.

The new ones will feature ATR’s ClearVision™ Enhanced Vision System (EVS), which uses an external camera to display an augmented outside-view in real-time to a head-mounted visor worn by the pilot. The EVS significantly improves pilot vision and, with Guernsey situated in the English Channel where fog is often a short-notice factor, it is expected to address this issue and potentially save up to half of all cancelled landings (24 out of 48) in Guernsey over the course of an average year. Aurigny anticipates the innovation will deliver significant savings in its future operations.

Aurigny’s CEO, Mark Darby, said: “Once we have the approval from the States of Guernsey to proceed, the entry into service of the new aircraft equipped with the new ClearVision™ system will reduce flight disruptions, which will be very good news for the people of Guernsey, who rely on air travel for essential connectivity. Beyond beating the fog, upgrading to the -600 series will also further enhance the operational efficiency of Aurigny.”

Christian Scherer, ATR’s CEO, pointed out that “Aurigny’s pioneering use of ClearVision will be a first in commercial aviation, here in Europe. Being the first to offer such a solution to our clients and operators demonstrates ATR’s constant desire to match their needs. In the regional aviation market, many airlines fly in challenging locations and ClearVision offers an opportunity to give pilots increased visibility and improved situational awareness without requiring expensive upgrades to an airport’s infrastructure – which in many occasions may even be completely unfeasible.”

Drukair deal

Another ATR with the ClearVision system has been sold to Bhutanese flag-carrier Drukair, headquartered at Paro in Western Bhutan. It has agreed a deal to buy a 42-600 and will be the first operator to benefit from the advantages of the Combined Vision System (CVS), incorporating EVS and also a Synthetic Vision System (SVS) that generates images of terrain and obstacles using an extensive database. The combination provides pilots with enhanced vision that improves their situational awareness.

Drukair’s new ATR 42-600 is expected to be delivered in July 2019. The airline has been operating ATR 42s for seven years in challenging environments, serving small airports in the Himalayan Mountains. It currently flies three Airbus A319s and a 42-500.

Tandi Wangchuk, CEO of Drukair, said: “Purchasing another ATR was a natural decision. The improvements delivered by the -600 series’ new Standard 3 avionics, along with the ClearVision™ CVS system add significant operational and thus economic value.”

ATR predicts that regional aviation will require more than 600 40-60 seat turboprops over the next 20 years.

The turboprop manufacturer also confirmed on Friday it had sold two new ATR 72-600s to Air Botswana in a 70-seat, dual-class configuration for first delivery in the fourth quarter of this year. It also confirmed a further sale of a new ATR 42-600 to Canadian carrier Air Saint-Pierre to replace an existing ATR 42-500, and an MoU for another pair of 64-seat ATR 72-600s with Mayotte-based carrier EWA, a subsidiary of Air Austral. EWA connects Mayotte, an overseas département of France, with neighbouring destinations in Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania.

ATR is forecasting global demand for more than 3,000 new turboprops over the next 20 years, equating to a market value in excess of US$80 billion. Nearly 80% (2,390 aircraft) of the forecast demand is expected to come from the 61-80 seat category, a segment served for years by the manufacturer’s ATR 72. The remaining 20% (630 aircraft) will come from the 40-60 seat market, covered by its ATR 42.

At Farnborough this week the company is displaying an ATR 42-600 in static area OE33 in the colours of US carrier Silver Airways, leased from Nordic Aviation Capital. Silver Airways will become the first ATR -600 series operator in the US later this year. The OEM is also displaying its new Neo Classic and Neo Prestige passenger seats, as well as its Cabinstream system that allows passengers to stream multimedia content.

 

Written by: Mark Thomas

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