The manufacturer says the regional market was not hit as hard as the long-haul sector

The regional manufacturer secured orders for 25 new ATR 42s and 72s last year, and delivered 20 aircraft. Marketing director Paolo Revelli-Beaumont says ATR aims to sell and deliver at least 24 aircraft in 2002, despite what is likely to be "a difficult year".

Chief executive Jean-Michel Léonard says 2001 was "our best year ever", with turnover of €615 million ($540 million). Of the 25 aircraft sold, "eight were signed for after 11 September".

Léonard says ATR was able "to anticipate the current crisis", largely thanks to its new structure, created on 1 June, when major shareholders EADS and Alenia Aeronautica turned the consortium into an integrated company. Léonard says that ATR is studying the feasibility of evolving into a limited company in the same way that the Airbus industrial grouping became a fully fledged company. "It takes a long time, particularly from a fiscal viewpoint, to transform a partnership into a company," he says.

Revelli-Beaumont says that "the regional aviation sector was not hit as hard as the long-haul business after 11 September, because the flow of passengers, travelling largely for business rather than leisure, is more stable than for the major airlines." He adds: "2003 will also be a difficult year, but the regional airlines historically suffer less."

Despite a dearth of sales in the USA in recent years, and the impact on the country's airlines at the terrorist attacks, Revelli-Beaumont says that "in the next three years we intend to sell aircraft in the USA."

Meanwhile, ATR remarketed 23 second-hand aircraft last year, 10 of which were sold for cash. It also concluded 16 lease extensions.

Source: Flight International