European planemaker ATRs says it is the bestseller for planes with 90 seats or less in 2011. The regional aircraft manufacturer recorded its best commercial year in 2011, posting firm sales of 157 planes and options for an additional 79 aircraft.
The 13 ATR 42s and 144 ATR 72s round out the manufacturer’s order book for a record high of 224 aircraft, ensuring three years of production, taking into account the production ramp up starting in 2012.
The company says ATR’s 2011 results “attest to the structural changes in the regional transport market, making ATRs the new reference in this sector.” ATRs represented more than 80% of regional airplane sales in 2011, confirming the domination of turboprop aircraft on regional routes. Their low fuel consumption, combined with comfort and advanced technology are the main reasons for ATR’s success, the first signs of which were felt in 2005.
During a press conference held in Paris yesterday morning, ATR CE Filippo Bagnato said he was “very pleased with the outstanding commercial performance in 2011. Our success is based on our ability to answer to the market requirements. Airlines are increasingly looking for planes that combine the lowest operating costs, cutting-edge technology, comfort and environmental friendliness. In this context, ATRs and particularly our new series of aircraft, the -600, have proven to be the best choice for regional routes in terms of meeting these requirements in regional routes.”
Leasing companies represented over 20% of ATR’s sales in 2011, “which confirms that ATRs are increasingly attractive to aircraft lessors.”
Certification of the ATR 72-600 in May 2011, as well as of the associated training tools, enabled the European turboprop manufacturer “to introduce new standards of comfort and leading-edge technologies into regional market,” the company says. Since their entry into service last August, ATR 72-600s have made over 3000 flights, posting an initial technical reliability of over 99.7%.
At the end of 2011, the 224 planes on the order books totalled an estimated US$5 billion. As a result, ATR will substantially increase its delivery schedule in order to meet the strong demand for ATRs worldwide. ATR plans to deliver over 70 aircraft in 2012 and to increase its deliveries to a minimum of 80 units as of 2013. With the ramp-up of its delivery schedules, ATR should see its turnover, which currently stands at US$1.3 billion, reach US$2 billion in the near future.
Bagnato said: “We are currently experiencing a real reversal of the trend in the regional market. Jets with 90 seats or less are gradually losing their place. And he added: “Today, ATR holds 70% of the order book for regional aircraft with 90 seats or less. This success was born of a continuous improvement policy, economic performance and the comfort of our airplanes. Today, this success has led to a remarkable change in the perception of our turboprop aircraft amongst regional airlines and their passengers.”
In 2011, ATR also obtained the expansion of the scope of its environmental certification ISO 14001, thus becoming the first regional aircraft manufacturer to be certified “environmental-friendly” over the entire lifecycle of its planes. Moreover, the new design of the Armonia cabin for ATR -600s was recognized at the Good Design Awards in Chicago, a worldwide reference for design and technology. The jury recognized the cabin designed by Italian designer Giugiaro for its quality in terms of comfort, ergonomics, innovation and design.
ATR continued to develop its customer support network worldwide with the opening of new pilot training centers in Toronto and Paris. A new centre will open in Johannesburg “in the very near future”. Within its support activities, in 2011 ATR completed the entry into service of the ASTRE program (ATR Spares Total Re-Engineering). This ambitious programme has been designed in order to facilitate the development of new customer services and optimized management of the spare parts stock, offering increased responsiveness in terms of customer support. It is also effective in reducing the immobilisation time of aircraft for maintenance, repair and overhaul.
ATR was founded in 1981 as an equal partnership between Alenia Aermacchi (a Finmeccanica Group company) and EADS. Its head office is in Toulouse. It has sold approximately 1200 aircraft to over 186 operators based in 90 countries.