Posted on: 21 January 2015 by Mark Howells
ATR finished 2014 with a total of 160 firm orders (133 ATR 72-600s and 27 ATR 42-600s) plus options for a further 120 aircraft, meaning that the company broke its previous calendar year sales record of 157 from 2011.
The numbers have raised the OEM’s backlog by 25% to 280 – valued at $6.8 billion – at the end of 2014. This also is a record for the company.
ATR’s market share in regional aircraft up to 90 seats was 47% in 2014 and was 80% in sales by western manufacturers.
The airframer delivered 83 aircraft to 29 different airlines in 2014. “We now have more than 200 ATR 72-600s in operation,” noted ATR CEO Patrick de Castelbajac, who expects the company’s turnover to finally pass the $2 billion mark this year.
de Castelbajac highlighted ATR’s success in Asia, including Lion Air Group’s order for 40 aircraft which took its firm orders to 100, the first airline operator to reach three figures.
Across ASEAN, there has been a 13% annual increase in the short-to-medium haul seats offered every year from 2009 to 2014. “And in the 50-90 seat sector of regional aircraft sales in ASEAN countries from 2010 to 2014 inclusive, ATR has 92% market share,” de Castelbajac reported.
Another highlight in Asia in 2014 was that the 1,000th ATR 72 (all models) was sold to Airlines PNG of Papua New Guinea.
On the customer support side, new training partnerships were established in Bogota, Colombia, and in Bangkok, Thailand. In 2015, de Castelbajac said the company plans to open a new warehouse in Sao Paulo as well as a new representative office in Tokyo.
Answering questions about the effect of oil prices falling, de Castelbajac initially quipped, “The price is good for the airlines as they will have more money so they can buy more of our aircraft,” but added pointedly, “The problem is volatility. Even now some people say the price may go lower this year and others say it may go back to around $100 a barrel.
“We sell an aircraft for 25 years, so the question is where will we be with oil prices in 10, 15, 20 and 25 years,” he continued. “The cost advantage may be lower at present but turboprops are still ahead.
So I’m not overly concerned.”
On the potential 2015 book-to-bill ratio, de Castelbajac admitted, “We’ve just had a fantastic year, but I believe we’ll sell fewer aircraft this year. This is partly because we only have a handful of slots in 2017. They are mainly available from 2018 onwards.”
Finally, the perennial question of progress with a new 90-seat turboprop was posed and de Castelbajac kept his response simple. “No change, no news. The shareholders are still split about the development,” he declared.
Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net