ATR may miss its new aircraft delivery forecast for 2002, but chief executive Jean-Michel L‚otard is confident the turboprop manufacturer will stay in profit.

The company expects to hand over at least 19 new aircraft in 2002, and may meet its target of 21 by the year-end depending on customer decisions on delivery delays. In January, ATR forecast 24 deliveries this year compared with 20 in 2001, because it was expecting a rapid airline recovery.

"By mid-year it became apparent this wouldn't happen," says Léotard. However, he is "confident that [delivery] decisions will be taken by early 2003".

Although new sales are down, sales of secondhand aircraft have risen from 26 to 40. ATR also hopes FedEx Express will sign a deal with Continental Airlines to acquire eight ATR 42s for cargo services.

Source: Flight International