A firm decision to launch a 90-seat aircraft by regional airframer ATR is not likely to emerge this year as the airframer continues to focus on certification of the ATR 72-600.
Both ATR and its rival in the 70-seat turboprop market Bombardier have repeatedly stated their interest in developing a turboprop in the 90-seat range, but have remained largely non-committal in firming up plans for a launch and development programme of a larger aircraft.
Earlier this year ATR CEO Filippo Bagnato told ATI and Flightglobal the company planned to focus in 2011 on certification of the 72-600 variant of the turboprop unveiled in late 2007.
Recently the head of Alenia Aeronautica Giuseppe Giordo said the company was committed to investing in a 90-seat turbroprop. Alenia Aeronautica is the joint venture partner of EADS in ATR,
Speaking to ATI and Flightglobal during the annual RAA convention in Nashville, Tennessee, ATR head of sales John Moore reiterated the airframer's plans to focus on -600 certification, which is expected by month's end.
Moore explained discussions regarding a larger turboprop are still occurring, but there is "no specific timetable" regarding a product launch.
ATR expects the -600 to account for six-to-seven of its planned deliveries of 50 aircraft in 2011. Royal Air Maroc, Brazilian carrier Azul and new lessor Air Lease are the companies accepting first deliveries.
Moore said ATR is pleased with the 38 orders it has netted in 2011, and should have more announcements near the Paris airshow in June.
ATR has a backlog of 189 aircraft representing about 2.5 years of production.