ATR not yet seeing big demand for linefit connectivity

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ATR is not seeing significant demand from airlines to provide in-flight connectivity as a linefit option on its turboprops, but said it will study connectivity should the need arise.

Noting that its customers largely operate flight durations of 45min to 1.15hr, ATR customisation director Pierre Tiefenbach said: "So far, I would say this [connectivity] is not a priority for ATR. We are not getting a very strong specific demand from our customers on providing in-flight connectivity."

He believes connectivity "makes less sense" on short-hop flights versus long-haul, but said ATR remains open to connectivity studies should demand change.

Some industry stakeholders and observers expect that even short-haul carriers will need to offer connectivity to passengers in the coming years.

Speaking to FlightglobalPro at the recent ERA General Assembly in Rome, European Regions Association director general Mike Ambrose said innovation in the cockpit will help drive connectivity equipage.

Said Ambrose: "What's happening now? Some guys are saying, 'to hell with [paper], we'll just give guys [pilots] an iPad. It's got all the flight bag in it. I don't know whether you bought a new car recently with a navigation system in it. You probably paid 2,000 Euro for a navigation system built into the car. [But] you can go out and buy a 140 Euro TomTom that does actually more than your navigation system in the car because TomTom provides web upgrades and that's what's happening with the use of the iPad.

"So I see that we're going to be putting lower cost [connectivity] systems in to allow people to carry on working. But it won't be fancy things. It will be the connectivity is there if you've got the piece of equipment [your own PED]."

ATR offers customers the options of drop-down in-flight entertainment (IFE) on its new Series 600 turboprops. Caribbean Airlines is among the carriers to select the IFE, said an ATR spokesman.