European regulators have certificated the ATR 42-600, the smaller member of the airframer's new -600 series turboprop family.

ATR expects the 46- to 50-seat type to enter service this summer. Its customers include Air Tahiti, Tanzania's Precision Air and Russia's NordStar.

It says the aircraft "benefited from its similarity" to the ATR 72-600 during the European Aviation Safety Agency certification process.

The turboprop has "glass cockpit" avionics with new flight-management systems, autopilot and five liquid-crystal display screens.

"We are the only manufacturer of 50-seater aircraft in the world and we estimate that, over the next 20 years, there will be a substantial potential market in this category," says ATR chief Filippo Bagnato.

ATR's larger aircraft, the 72-600, obtained certification in May last year and is in service with seven operators. The airframer says the combined -600 series order portfolio has reached 250 aircraft.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news