ATR is introducing improvements to its turboprop family with powerplant and avionics upgrades.

ATR chief executive Filippo Bagnato says that a new version of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW120 engine will be certificated next year "with 5% more power" for the ATR 72-500.

Bagnato says the development is being made to aid the type's operation in hot and high conditions. The ATR 42-500 engine is unaffected by the change as it has a de-rated version of the ATR 72 engine and has no need for additional thrust.

ATR senior vice-president commercial John Moore says that "in certain environments, with the ATR 72, we hit limits that we can counteract". He adds that the additional thrust will be available on demand through a toggle switch, so it can be used only when needed. The development will raise the single-engine ceiling by 1,000ft (300m) and shorten flight times, says Moore.

ATR is also working to update its avionics. Moore describes the shift as a "fairly sizeable upgrade", with Honeywell, Rockwell and Thales being evaluated to supply the equipment.

He adds that the upgrade will initially be offered on new-build aircraft, but might ultimately become available for retrofit.

"We have come up with a good definition, and are waiting for the final go-ahead from our shareholders to put it into the final development stage," says Moore.

Source: Flight International