Aeromar unlikely to follow through on prior plans to add ATR 72s

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Mexico's Aeromar has further postponed delivery of its first ATR 72 and could switch its two-aircraft order from the ATR 72-500 to the ATR 42-600.

Aeromar, which currently operates 14 ATR 42s, first placed an order in 2007 for two ATR 72-500s for delivery in 2009. But the carrier last year indefinitely deferred delivery of these aircraft due to the economic crisis.

Aeromar president Ami Lindenberg says its ATR 72-500 order still stands and has not been cancelled. But he says Aeromar has decided for now to expand with Bombardier CRJ200s rather than ATR 72s, and the carrier will decide later whether to convert its ATR 72-500 order to ATR 42-600s or ATR 72-600s.

"We'll see what we will do with the ATR in a certain point of time - if we decide to go with the ATR 72 again or with the ATR 42, our original product. We'll no doubt continue with ATR as it is the best aircraft for this market," Lindenberg tells ATI.

Lindenberg expects Aeromar to eventually expand its ATR fleet beyond the current 14 aircraft even as it also takes CRJ200s. But he believes there is currently not enough demand on any of the carrier's routes to support a 70-seat turboprop and at this point Aeromar prefers to add frequencies with additional ATR 42s rather than up-gauge to ATR 72s. He says Aeomar would also face payload restrictions out of Mexico City with the ATR 72s, making additional ATR 42s a more viable option.

According to Flighglobal's ACAS database Aeromar's fleet currently consist of 10 ATR 42-500s and four ATR 42-320s. ATR currently is producing the ATR 42-500 and ATR 72-500 but plans to cutover to the new-generation -600 next year. As Aeromar now does not plan to take delivery of any new ATRs before the cutover, its next new turboprop would be the -600.

"We'll probably begin at some point in time to renew our fleet of ATRs," Lindenberg says.

He adds even as Aeromar starts to use the CRJ200 on some of its longer routes the ATR 42 will continue to be the carrier's core aircraft given its far superior operating economics on routes of 90 minutes or less.