Record delivery year for ATR in 2015

ATR delivered a record 88 aircraft in 2015, although the company just slipped below a 1:1 book-to-build ratio with firm orders for the year totalling 76 (11 ATR 72-600s and 65 ATR 72-600s).

The OEM also racked up 81 options for total commitments of 157. All this leaves the firm backlog at 260 aircraft (valued at $6.6 billion), equating to more than three years of production. That backlog becomes almost 400 when options and purchase rights are included. The aim for 2016 is above 90 deliveries.

The company’s turnover in 2015 was $2 billion, up from $1.35 billion in 2010. “It was a good year, though perhaps not as good as we would have liked it to be,” remarked ATR CEO Patrick de Castelbajac. “We did have some strong points though, such as our breakthrough into Japan plus we had our best year in Europe for quite a few years.”

Over 2010-15, ATR recorded a 37% share in 50-90 seat market (turboprop and turbofan), which means it was the leader in the segment. Across the same years in the turboprop market, ATR had a 77% market share.

Also over the same period of 2010-15, the 88 deliveries last year represent a 70% increase over the delivery numbers recorded in 2010.

“We now have 200 operators in the world, a feat only previously achieved by the A320 family,” noted de Castelbajac. “With that number of operators, ATRs remain a valuable asset for lessors and asset managers.”

The breakthrough in Japan included to sales to Japan Air Lines and Amakusa. To support market development there, ATR opened an office in Tokyo.
“Japan has many islands and though many cities can be linked with trains, many others on different islands are growing and need connectivity. In fact, one-third of flights operated in Japan are less than 300 nm, so we expect more customers to come,” de Castelbajac remarked. With his competitor having already placed Combi turboprops in Japan, he expects more airlines there to require such aircraft and believes the Cargoflex version – certified in October 2015 – to be in demand.

Looking at new markets, the CEO noted that Iran is opening up. “The need is clearly there for a population of 80 million people. I believe we could easily do 50 aircraft, with perhaps about half that this year. People I’ve met there were very professional and robust in their approach,” de Castelbajac reported.

“We expect big growth in India and we are also going to focus on Africa, where we have a smaller market share than our global share,” he continued. “We also want to get back into the US and expect to have a demo tour soon to show that the current product is very different from the aircraft many recall from 20 years ago.”

The supply chain remains a challenge for ATR, with many suppliers having a number of calls on their products and services. “It’s certainly not simple,” de Castebajac commented. “My job is for them to prioritise us at the right level. Also, we need to give them a little a bit more of a long view.

“For those suppliers who just work with us, we’re helping them to improve in areas such as Lean manufacturing. We send our people to some of the these suppliers and we’re confident of overcoming any problems.

Finally, the perennial question arrive on the prospects for a new larger aircraft. “On the NGTP (new generation turboprop) there is nothing active today,” de Castelbajac reported. “It will make sense at some stage and I believe it is more likely to be closer to 100 seats than 90, as 90 seats would be a little close to the highest capacity of our current aircraft.”

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/
Paris, France

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