ATR has embarked on flight testing to obtain Chinese certification for its ATR 42-600 turboprop.

The airframer says the initial 3h test was conducted from Toulouse’s Francazal airport, which is located some 10km south of the city’s main Blagnac airport.

China’s civil aviation administration CAAC co-operated with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency for the 3 July test.

EASA pilots were on board the turboprop with ATR’s own.

Certification of the type, an enhanced and modernised version of the ATR 42-500, will enable deliveries to Chinese operators.

ATR says sub-100-seat regional aircraft account for just 2.5% of the Chinese airline fleet, compared with around 25% globally.

It claims that the ATR 42-600 configured with 30 seats would offer an “ideal solution” for Chinese connectivity.

Chinese testing of the variant will provide a lift to the company, which is preparing to halve its production, as a result of the air transport crisis, a measure which will result in just over 200 job losses.