ATR delivers 1 000th aircraft

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Regional turboprop manufacturer ATR has delivered its 1 000th aircraft, an ATR 72-600, for Spanish airline Air Nostrum. ATR delivered its first aircraft, an ATR 42 on December 3, 1985 to the French airline Air Littoral.

The company said yesterday’s delivery symbolizes the success and sustainability of the ATR programme and the ATR 42 and ATR 72 family of aircraft. “ATR…joins the exclusive ranks of aircraft manufacturers having delivered 1,000 planes.”

The delivery of this aircraft, which is configured for 72 passengers and powered by two PW127M turboprop engines, took place in Toulouse and was attended by aerospace leaders, including the CEOs of the EADS and Finmeccanica groups, Louis Gallois and Giuseppe Orsi respectively.
“Today, ATR planes are present in over 90 countries and are flown by 180 airlines. Few programs can boast such a global presence”, said Filippo Bagnato, Chief Executive Officer of ATR. “Over the years, ATR aircraft have established themselves as the benchmark in regional aviation on all continents. We are very proud of the resilience that ATR has demonstrated since the launch of the programme. The perseverance, the unfailing commitment to our turboprop aircraft and their many benefits for regional airlines are what allow us to celebrate the 1,000th delivery today, and these same qualities will continue to provide us with opportunities in the years to come.”

Since the recovery of the turboprop market in 2005, and after narrowly escaping bankruptcy in 2004, ATR has recorded almost half of all of its orders and delivered nearly a third of its aircraft. In 2011, a record year for the Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer which posted 157 firm sales, ATR represented over 80% of international sales of regional aircraft with 90 seats or less.

Concerning these figures, Filippo Bagnato added: “The trend in regional aviation shows an increasingly pronounced predominance of turboprop technology in the 90-seat or less aircraft segment. Turboprops and ATR planes in particular, are also the best suited aircraft to meet the increasing environmental requirements of airlines and passengers.” And he concluded: “We would also like to thank all of our customers and ATR operators who, from the launch of the program, have placed their trust in us and who enable us today to look ahead to new, ever more ambitious opportunities.”
“(In 2004) everyone in the industry or the banking system saw a corpse in ATR,” Bagnato said, when the situation was “almost desperate”. But with the rising price of oil, slower but more efficient turboprop aircraft are becoming more popular.

In late January, ATR announced a record backlog estimated at five billion dollars in late 2011, anticipating a 60% increase in production within three years. The group plans to deliver more than 70 aircraft in 2012 and increase annual deliveries to at least 80 aircraft from 2013, against 54 in 2011.

Since its creation, ATR has sold approximately 1,200 aircraft to over 180 operators based in 91 countries. ATR planes have totalled over 21 million flight hours.

Eight years ago ATR had a backlog of only five aircraft, but in late 2011 had a backlog of 224 aircraft.