ATR looks likely to beat its all-time annual sales record this year and is planning further production ramp-ups to meet rocketing demand for its turboprops. The European manufacturer has logged 88 orders this year – 16 ATR-42s and 72 ATR-72s – and is just two orders short of its all-time record, achieved in 2005.

“We still have a few weeks in which to outperform this record, and we are optimistic we can do this,” Stephane Mayer, ATR chief executive said at the show yesterday. As the orders have grown in the past few years, so ATR has worked hard to increase production to keep pace. This year has seen production increase from 24 aircraft in 2006 to 44 this year. With a target of 64 aircraft in 2008, the company has now raised the 2009 target to 80 aircraft.

Mayer said the past three years, which followed a period of “jet mania” in the regional airline sector, had accounted for nearly a quarter of all the 925 orders for ATR aircraft achieved during the lifetime of the programme.

Looking ahead, Mayer says ATR expects market demand for turboprops to total 1,390 over the next ten years and is aiming for at least a 50% share of the market. “We currently have a 60% share and we would aim to maintain that,” he says.

To meet the expectations of the future market, ATR has launched its upgraded ATR -600 series of aircraft. The aircraft will feature new avionics, PW127M engines with increased thermodynamic rating, integrated Aircraft Centralised Maintenance System and a new advanced cabin interior.

“In order to capture a good market share we have decided to continue to focus on innovation,” said Mayer. “These innovations will be progressively introduced as soon as they are developed and certified.” The complete package of upgrades will be available on aircraft from the end of 2010.

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Source: Flight Daily News