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ATR sees demand for 1,000 turboprops in Asia-Pacific

ATR predicts that 1,000 turboprops will be needed in Asia-Pacific over the next 20 years, with a number of those aircraft to be used to open up new routes.

Sales director Laurent Janitza says that around 820 will be in the 70-seat category, with the remainder in the 50-seat market.

The prediction underlines the importance of Asia-Pacific for the manufacturer, with operators including Lion Air, IndiGo, Garuda Indonesia, and PNG Air already representing around half of its orderbook.

Janitza explains that demand for turboprops in Southeast Asia will primarily be driven by network growth. Last year, the manufacturer says that 36 new routes operated by ATRs were launched in Indonesia, 12 in the Philippines, and four in Thailand.

ATRs are also being used to replace jets in some markets, such as Taiwan where Mandarin Airlines, Far Eastern Air Transport, and UNI Air are flying turboprops on domestic routes.

At the same time, some ageing turboprops in more mature markets, such as Australia, will require replacement by 2037.

Janitza welcomes the July announcement that turboprop operators at Singapore Changi airport will be moved to Seletar after a new terminal is opened there later this year.

"This is a good news for us; we think it's going to drive demand. The fact that you have a dedicated airport for turboprops is going to drive airlines to think what to do with it. Since it's a turboprop airport, it's going to be an opportunity."

FlightGlobal schedules show that Malaysia Airlines subsidiary Firefly is the only turboprop operator at Changi, operating 67 weekly ATR 72 flights to Ipoh, Kuantan, and Subang.

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