ATR still mulling larger turboprop

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Although ATR is "working to be prepared" for the introduction of larger 90-seat turboprops, it remains focused on the core 70- and 50-seat markets.

It forecasts a market for 3,100 turboprops over the next 20 years, with 1,600 in the 70-seat segment, 1,000 at 90 seats and 500 in the 50-seat market.

Chief executive Filippo Bagnato said it is "working to be prepared" for the larger aircraft but will also look to enhance its 50- and 70-seat models.

"We have to be competitive over the next 20 years with the 50- and 70-seaters," he said.

Any technological advancements introduced on a 90-seat aircraft would flow down to the smaller variants, he said.

A decision on any 90-seat programme could come by the end of the year, with a development cost of around half the cost of Bombardier's CSeries jet.

"The aircraft industry is a one-shot industry: one wrong decision can kill you," he said.

Despite Bombardier's woes this year Bagnato does not think its rival will drop out of the segment. "Bombardier will not renounce the market like that," he said. "It's a market of at least 3,000 aircraft."

He also pointed out that Chinese airframers will be more active in the segment.