ATR intends to decide later this year whether to realise a proposed new short take-off and landing (STOL) version of its smallest family member.

Chief executive Christian Scherer said during a results briefing on 22 January that the Toulouse-based manufacturer – which is jointly owned by Airbus and Italian aerospace group Leonardo – has yet to determine what requirements the STOL variant, dubbed the ATR 42-600S, needs to fulfil.

He says discussions are ongoing with a number of airlines that are interested in the aircraft.

A “super-STOL” variant capable of operating from 800m-long (2,625ft) runways, which might also be contaminated with rocks, would require a higher development investment than a version designed for less demanding conditions, Scherer says.

ATR has completed feasibility studies into how the aircraft could be modified, but has not launched the variant. Scherer says he expects a decision later this year on whether or not to go ahead with the effort.

He acknowledges that the bulk of deliveries cover the 80-seat ATR 72-600, but asserts that the manufacturer is receiving more interest for the ATR 42-600, noting that the type is the only 50-seat turboprop in production today.