A contract signed with Ecuador's TAME followed by an order from Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) saw ATR increase its Le Bourget orderbook to 60 new orders and 37 options.

The contract for the purchase of three new ATR 42-500s by TAME is valued at $54 million. The aircraft are due to enter service in September.

ATR chief executive Filippo Bagnato said the deal demonstrated that "there is a steady market for 50-seat regional aircraft".

TAME chief executive Gustavo Cuesta said the aircraft had "proven performance in altitude, hot environments, small airfields and short runways".

The contract signing between TAME and ATR was followed by a signing between the turboprop manufacturer and Danish regional aircraft lessor NAC. This deal was for the purchase of 10 ATR 72-600s, plus options for 10 additional aircraft. The deal, including options, is valued at around $450 million and represents NAC's first order for ATR 72-600s.

NAC chairman Martin Møller said of the contract: "This proves not only our confidence in the turboprop, but the market's." He added that his company had received increasing demand for fuel-efficient aircraft with optimal economics and as such the deal was a strategic purchase.

Bagnato said that interest in the ATR (chalet B345) product had substantially increased in the past three years, when the number of ATRs in operation belonging to lessors had doubled.

New orders at Le Bourget in 2011 have broken ATR's previous sales record at the show and have brought the manufacturer's backlog to 233 aircraft worth $5.4 billion, which translates to three years of production.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news