Turboprop manufacturer ATR has announced a launch customer of its ATR 42-600S with a letter of intent from Dublin-based leasing firm Elix Aviation Capital for an order of 10 aircraft.
ATR has yet to officially launch the new version of the ATR-42 600 with capabilities to take-off and land on runways as short as 800 metres but is taking orders and expects the project to be approved by its board by year’s end.
The company says the reduction in take-off and landing distances from 1,050m at present will make several hundred more airports accessible to ATR.
In addition to its short take-off and landing capability, the new aircraft is expected to deliver 50 seats at the same operating cost of a 30-seat aircraft.
The plan is to deliver the aircraft to Elix between 2022 and 2024.
“This is an excellent opportunity for us to be at the forefront of innovation in our market,’’ Elix chief operating officer John Moore said in a statement.
“This new aircraft fits well into Elix’s long term strategy to offer a wide range of specialized and complete solutions to regional turboprop operators around the world and to be a leading and innovative lessor in the market.
“The aircraft has the capability to provide significant advantages to airlines, boosting revenue potential and opening up new airports with shorter runways.
“There are communities all over the world who will be able to benefit from the increased connectivity that this aircraft will supply.”
Air Tahiti also confirmed it had ordered two of the STOL aircraft.
Air Tahiti general manager Manate Vivishsaid the ATR 42-600S would enable the airline to use higher-capacity aircraft for destinations which until now had only been accessible with much smaller aircraft.
“This is excellent news, both for the inhabitants of the archipelago and for the tourists who visit us,” he said.
About 1,200 turboprops with 30 to 50 seats currently in service worldwide and will need replacing in the years to come.
ATR says the enhanced economic performance and operational flexibility of 42-600S places it in an ideal position to meet this need