Alenia Aeronautica is committed to developing a 90-seat stretch of its regional turboprop family, with or without its ATR partner EADS.

"We will invest," chief executive Giuseppe Giordo told Flight International, adding that he believed there was a market for 1,500 turboprops in the 90-seat segment, which is not served by either ATR or its rival Bombardier.

Giordo said the Finmeccanica subsidiary had the capabilities in Italy to build its own large turboprop if EADS decided not to go ahead with the project.

ATR turboprops
 © ATR

Earlier this year, Filippo Bagnato, chief executive of Toulouse-based ATR - in which EADS and Alenia are co-shareholders - appeared to dampen speculation about a larger sister to the ATR 72, saying the business's focus this year was on certification and delivery of the upgraded 72-600 variant.

ATR has acknowledged that it is studying a stretch of its 70-seater, although a larger aircraft would require a more powerful engine to replace the Pratt & Whitney PW127.

Source: Flight International