ATR is confident that a turboprop renaissance in the USA could soon come despite the recent resurgence of 70-seat regional jets in the country.

The airframer has, for years, not had a direct sale to a US operator as carriers moved to replace their turboprops with regional jets. Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets database shows that there are only nine passenger configured ATR 72s in operation in the country, with an average age of 20 years.

Its global head of sales John Moore, however, told Flightglobal Pro at the Dubai Airshow that there will soon be opportunities to sell new 50-seat ATR 42s and 70-seat ATR 72s into the market, as the regional aircraft are due to be retired.

“There’s a lot of the older smaller turboprops, there’s a lot of the 50 seat jets. It’s just taking some time for those aircraft to work themselves out of the system,” he adds.

While most carriers have replaced their 50-seat regional jets with larger types such as the Bombardier CRJ700 and Embraer 175, Moore believes that the market will also have a place for turboprops.

“The first phase has been more replacing them with larger regional jets and there is a whole population of routes where turboprops are much more efficient aircraft, so I do believe there are some opportunities there. It will just take some time,” he says.

Moore adds that ATR is also well positioned for orders from operators of 30-50 seat turboprops, such as the early Dash 8 series and Embraer EMB-120s. With the airframer's ATR 42-600 being the only 50-seat turboprop in production, he believes that the type will be a natural replacement for those ageing aircraft.

Source: Cirium Dashboard