ATR rules out 90-seat decision this year

Washington DC
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ATR has ruled out a decision this year on whether to pursue an enlarged, 90-seat version of its regional turboprop family.

The European airframer's main focus in 2011 is certification and delivery of its modernised 72-600 variant, says chief executive Filippo Bagnato, who firmly says "this year we will not be taking a decision" about a larger turboprop.

Bagnato says customers would be looking for a "city car" that was a little larger than the ATRs now optimised on short distances. "I don't think they are looking for sophisticated performances," he says.

ATR 72-600 ATR
 © ATR
ATR sis to concentrate on certification and delivery of its modernised 72-600 variant this year 

While no US customers were included in ATR's 80 orders for 2010, the airframer believes market forces in North America are strengthening its case, particularly against regional jets.

Operators "can't make money with a 50-seat jet" on routes shorter than 350nm (6,470km), says Bagnato. He adds that the two-class configuration and forward passenger door option on the ATR 72-600 are "what we've done first to be prepared for the North American market - it is the main driver of this new configuration".