3 000 new turboprops needed over next 20 years

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The worldwide demand for turboprop airliners is estimated to be 3 000 over the next 20 years, according to a new forecast. The new aircraft are valued at over $80 billion.

ATR on 2 July said in its new Market Forecast (2018-2037) that 3 020 turboprop aircraft will be needed over the next 20 years. “The expected demand for turboprops over the next two decades confirms their healthy position in the up-to-90-seat regional market. Since 2010, turboprops have represented 50% of the total sales in this segment,” ATR said.

The key driver for this positive outlook is traffic growth in regional connectivity. This comes from both traditional markets where less connected locations are being connected with direct regional new routes, as well as from emerging markets where the most viable solution for connecting people and transporting goods is turboprop air links, ATR said.

In the 2018-2037 market forecast, nearly 80% (2 390 aircraft) of the total demand is expected to come from the 61-80 seat category. The remaining 20% (630 aircraft) will come from the 40-60 seat market.

Over the next 20 years, the largest demand for turboprops is expected to come from Asia (43%), followed by Europe, Africa and Middle East (31%) and the Americas (26%).

Beyond passenger aircraft, ATR estimates that the increase of freight traffic will generate, over the next two decades, a potential for the delivery of 460 turboprop freighters. This includes converted aircraft as well as the recently launched ATR 72-600F, the only regional cargo aircraft available straight from factory.

ATR said Regional aviation has experienced an outstanding development, with 58% of the current regional networks worldwide having been created over the last 15 years. The growth of the regional routes has been particularly intense in the period 2012 – 2017, with an annual average of over 100 new routes created, and a record of 155 new routes in 2017. Today, turboprops operate half of the flights below 330 nm all over the world, the most fuel-efficient solution for short-hauls.

Based on their current and recent success in opening new routes with the lowest risk, ATR estimates that turboprop aircraft have the potential to generate 2,770 new routes in the 20 years to come. During this period, regional traffic is expected to grow annually at a pace of 4.5%, with around 30% of the traffic in 2037 coming from routes that do not currently exist.



Air connectivity plays an essential role in boosting local economies. An increase in flights of 10% generates additional increases of 5% in tourism, 6% in regional GDP and 8% foreign direct investment. Turboprops are key in connecting communities around the world: 36% of all commercial airports rely exclusively on turboprops and 50% rely, also exclusively, on regional aircraft.