PARIS 2009: ATR adds 20 more -600s to backlog

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Turboprop manufacturer ATR has added a further 20 orders for its new -600 derivative, after detailing its year-to-date performance for 2009.

Speaking during a briefing at the Paris Air Show today, ATR chief executive Stephane Mayer revealed that ATR's backlog comprises 170 aircraft including 59 orders for its -600 variant. In January the -600 total stood at 39.

At the interim mark ATR had booked 28 new aircraft orders: two 42-600s and four 72-600s for Royal Air Maroc, four Afrijet 72-500s, four Italian naval 72-600s, plus undisclosed customer orders for 10 72-600s, two 72-500s and two 42-500s.

"Some of [the undisclosed orders] will be announced during the show," says Mayer. "We have some announcements planned for tomorrow."

So far this year ATR has delivered 18 aircraft. Mayer is forecasting a total of more than 50 deliveries in 2009, down from his earlier prediction for over 60. Mayer says: "Today our outlook is above 50, but we are finding it difficult to make a [delivery] forecast for next year. We will have a more precise view six months from now."

Over the last three years ATR has trebled deliveries, and had originally forecast achieving an annual output of over 70 aircraft by now. But Mayer says: "We have decided to stop our ramp-up. The production of ATRs will remain at a stable level after having been at a historic high. The decision was taken in March to adapt [our production] to the market."

Despite the delivery reduction, ATR's 2009 turnover target remains largely unchanged because of increased customer services revenues. It expects turnover this year of $1.4 billion.

Mayer declines to predict an order total for 2009. "It is very difficult to forecast orders in the present situation," he says. "Since January, I have stopped making predictions."

He adds: "We are secure with a very healthy backlog of 170 aircraft on order, thus ensuring three years of production. Despite today's difficult market situation, we know the demand is here for the long term, and we are ready to continue our growth and to further increase our production once the economy recovers."

Last year ATR had 13 cancellations and a further nine have been added to the tally in 2009. Mayer says: "A little over 10% of our orders have been cancelled, but almost 90% have been confirmed."

ATR's total orders have reached 998 since the beginning of the programme. Mayer says: "We are very close to our objective to go to 1,000 this year."