ATR chief executive Filippo Bagnato says 16% of total orders placed for ATR products last year came from operating leasing companies.
ATR announced 74 firm orders in 2012, with 12 of the commitments coming from lessors.
Last year, operating lessor Air Lease placed a firm order for four ATR 72-600s. Nordic Aviation Capital ordered one ATR 42-600, while Avation ordered another seven ATR 72-600s for its Australian Skywest operation.
Speaking at a media briefing in Toulouse, Bagnato expects leasing companies to continue ordering ATR aircraft this year.
"Some orders placed by lessors are speculative but others can be used as a financial tool for airlines," says Bagnato.
He expects Garuda Indonesia's low-cost subsidiary Citilink to "co-operate" with leasing companies once the 50-aircraft order is finalised.
Last month, Citilink announced plans to place a firm order for 25 ATR 72s, alongside options for a further 25.