ATR marketing director Mario Formica believes the ATR 42-600 will clinch further sales as it is the only aircraft in production in its category.
"There are 1,100 aircraft in the 30-seat market that need replacement over the next few years," he told delegates at the Ascend Finance Forum London 2012.
ATR targets Dornier 328s, Embraer EMB-120s and Saab 340s in this category and Formica reckons those fleets will need to be replaced between 2014 and 2019.
"The majority of those aircraft are in Europe and North America and the ATR 42 is perfect application on short-haul sectors up to 350 nautical miles," he says.
ATR identifies 500 aircraft in the 50-seat market in its 20-year forecast. Targeted replacements include the Saab 2000, Bombardier Dash 8-300 and Fokker 50 but Formica also believes many routes using Bombardier CRJ jets are not profitable.
"There are 250,000 frequencies in North America flown by 50-seat jets that are not operated in a profitable way. More than half of these could be operated more efficiently with 50- and 70-seat turboprops," he says.
European regulators certificated the ATR 42-600 series earlier this week. ATR's larger aircraft, the ATR 72-600, obtained certification in May last year and is in service with seven operators. The airframer says the combined -600 series order portfolio has reached 250 aircraft. However the backlog for the -600 stands at 16 firm orders and two options.
It expects the 46- to 50-seat type to enter service this summer with Air Tahiti, Tanzania's Precision Air, Royal Air Maroc Express and Russia's NordStar Airlines.
ATR delivered its final -500 series earlier this year to Ecuadorian airline TAME.