DUBAI: ATR still waiting to launch 90-seater turboprop

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ATR is still awaiting shareholder approval to launch a 90-seat turboprop, which is planned to enter service towards the end of the decade.

The airframer’s head of global sales John Moore tells Flightglobal Pro in an interview during the Dubai air show that the company has conducted a number of market and engineering studies for a 90-seater, but it is now up to its shareholders – EADS and Alenia Aermacchi – to decide when the aircraft will launch.

“We’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at this market, we’ve got a lot of feedback from our customers and airlines who believe that there is a need for this product,” he says.

Alenia has previously expressed that it would like to start working on the aircraft in 2014 to allow it to enter service in 2018 or 2019, but EADS has not yet agreed to start then.

“The evaluation and discussion is ongoing. Ultimately the decision will be at the level of our shareholders,” says Moore.

“[Launching the aircraft] depends on a variety of factors, also depends on the engine development, as well but we think it would be available probably by the end of the decade,” he adds.

Earlier this year, Malaysia Airlines’ Firefly subsidiary nominated itself as a potential launch customer for a 90-seater development of the aircraft. Lessor Nordic Aviation Capital has also recently expressed an interest in the larger aircraft.