PARIS 2009: ATR approaches 1,000th sale
With 28 new orders so far this year, ATR has arrived at Le Bourget with 998 orders since the beginning of the turboprop programme. Customers for 14 of these orders remain undisclosed, though four signing ceremonies over Monday and Tuesday will reveal at least two buyers.
In his press conference, ATR CEO Stéphane Mayer noted that despite the downturn the company is 20 sales ahead of last year’s position at the beginning of the Farnborough Air Show, at which time eight aircraft had been sold. “We are maintaining our backlog, which was at a historical high of 181 at the end of June 2008 and now stands at 170. So there is three years of production in that,” he remarked.
Mayer also noted that 59 orders in that backlog are for new -600 Series aircraft. The prototype of the ATR 72-600 is due to fly shortly and the ATR 42-600 prototype will have ‘power-on’ in December. While the 72-600 is a refurbished test airframe which has been fitted with all new systems, the company does not have an ATR 42 test aircraft so it will use a new airframe. Once certification is complete, the test aircraft will be available for sale.
Production for 2009 is expected to close at a similar level to last year’s 55. “After getting up to more than three times the annual deliveries we made in 2005, we’re now going to stable delivery rates during the downturn and will ramp up when necessary,” explained Mayer. “We have the potential to grow to 75 aircraft a year with the current facilities.”
Looking further ahead, Mayer introduced the ATR’s turboprop market forecast for 2009-2028. “We believe 2,700 aircraft will be required over that period, which averages at 135 aircraft per year,” he announced. “Of that number, 40% of the deliveries will be for the replacement market – with strong potential to take over from old 30- to 50-seat turboprops and from regional jets which are operated unprofitably – while 60% will be for a new growing market.”
On the customer support side, Mayer reported that since January ATR has seen 13% growth in the number of aircraft covered by its Global Maintenance Agreements (GMAs). There are now 223 aircraft covered with 36 operators, equating to 26% of the total ATR fleet in operation.
Mayer also announced that the company is in the process of selecting its first recognised MRO providers. The first supplier, which will be audited by ATR to the airframer’s standards, is likely to be announced in September.
Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net