By David Kaminski-Morrow in Toulouse
ATR is intending to enable operators to move more easily towards paperless cockpits as part of an effort to further refine its turboprop models.
Filippo Bagnato, chief executive of the Toulouse-based regional aircraft manufacturer, says that introduction of electronic flight-bag capabilities and extraction of additional performance from the ATR 42 and ATR 72 airframes are among the strategies envisaged for modernising the types.
|Pacific carrier Air Caledonie's new ATR 42-500, is one of three recently ordered ATRs|
Speaking to Flight International at the delivery of the first of three newly ordered aircraft – one ATR 42-500 and two ATR 72-500s – to Pacific carrier Air Caledonie, Bagnato said that paperless cockpit environments clearly benefited crews. “We’re now implementing, to be in a position to offer electronic flight bags to customers in the next year,” he says.
ATR also wants to upgrade the types’ engines, by around mid-2007, to generate better take-off performance and perhaps increase the turboprops’ operating ceiling by around 1,000ft (300m). But Bagnato says that, because operators typically use ATRs on short sectors, increasing the aircraft’s speed is a waste of time. “I don’t want to pay one penny for speed,” he says.
ATR would rather focus on passenger comfort, he says, such as the in-flight entertainment being developed in response to demand from Asian carriers Kingfisher Airlines and Pakistan International Airlines.
Air Caledonie’s new aircraft will replace three ATR 42-320s. The carrier will receive the first of its two ATR 72-500s at the end this year and the second in 2007.