European regional-turboprop manufacturer ATR has added two more new-order deals for its aircraft and converted a third existing commitment into a firm order, cementing...

European regional-turboprop manufacturer ATR has added two more new-order deals for its aircraft and converted a third existing commitment into a firm order, further cementing a new annual ATR sales record in the process.

On September 29, Danish regional aircraft leasing company Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) signed a contract to order 10 ATR 72-600s and two ATR 72-500s, and took options on 10 additional ATR 72-600s. ATR values the entire deal, including options, at $500 million.

NAC and ATR had signed a Heads of Agreement document covering the 10 ATR 72-600s and the options at the Paris Air Show in June, but NAC’s order for two ATR 72-500s is new. The orders will bring to 103 the total fleet of ATR turboprops in NAC’s portfolio.

Deliveries of the two ATR 72-500s are scheduled before the end of the year. NAC will start receiving its ATR 72-600s next year.

Meanwhile, U.S.-based aircraft lessor Air Lease Corporation (ALC) has ordered two more ATR 72-600s.

The ATR 72-600 is the new, upgraded version of ATR's high-selling ATR 72 70-seat turboprop

ALC had already booked an order in 2010 for 10 ATR 72-600s, along with options for 10 additional aircraft. The September 29 contract represents the conversion of two of the 10 options. ATR values the two aircraft at a list price of $45 million. Deliveries of the two ATR 72-600s to ALC will occur in the spring of 2013.

ATR has recorded firm orders for 145 aircraft and options on 72 more since the beginning of the year, valuing the firm orders at $3.2 billion and the options at a potential additional $1.6 billion. These figures represent a new annual record for the European manufacturer, well before the year has ended. ATR established its previous sales record in 2007, when it booked firm orders on 113 aircraft and options on 26 more.

Privately owned NAC is the world’s largest turboprop leasing company. It currently has a portfolio of some 170 ATR aircraft, including the 12 aircraft on order. NAC introduced ATR aircraft into its fleet in 2003, with the purchase of an ATR 42.

“We have decided to introduce new ATR -600s and -500s into our portfolio because of their high popularity among regional carriers worldwide,” says Martin Møller, chairman of NAC. “ATR has a portfolio of more than 170 operators around the world, and we consider that these twelve new aircraft will bring us strong additional business opportunities. We have been leasing ATR aircraft for years, and we are fully satisfied with the commercial results they have been providing us all this time.”

“ALC has successfully placed the 10 aircraft from our initial order at Farnborough last year and we are pleased to continue to offer the ATR 72-600 turboprop as part of our aircraft portfolio,” remarks Steven Udvar-Hazy, chairman and chief executive officer of Air Lease Corporation. “The ATR 72-600’s attractive economics and performance capabilities make the aircraft a strong asset for our leasing business. ALC seeks innovative solutions for our airline customers and the continued partnership with ATR furthers this mission.”

The ATR 72-500 has long been European regional-aircraft maker ATR's top-selling product but in sales terms is gradually giving way to the upgraded, new ATR 72-600

According to ATR, the firm orders for 145 ATR turboprops in 2011 represent over 80 per cent of sales of all regional aircraft with 50 to 90 seats since the beginning of the year. ATR has registered 34 per cent of its 2011 orders with six new customers.

At the same time, the 145 aircraft have enabled ATR to achieve a new record order backlog, which has grown to 275 aircraft and which the company values at $6.2 billion dollars. This backlog represents nearly four years of ATR production. ATR says the 275-aircraft backlog also represents 68 per cent of the total backlog of 50-to-90-seat regional aircraft, confirming a renewed interest in turboprop technology among airlines.

“This sales record, and the year is not yet over, once again underlines the relevance of our product to meet the requirements of regional transport, which continues to expand worldwide,” says Filippo Bagnato, chief executive officer of ATR. In terms of savings, ecology, performance and comfort, ATR aircraft, and the newest -600 series in particular, have become the benchmark for regional airlines worldwide.”

Customers for ATR aircraft in 2011 include Lion Air/Wings Air of Indonesia, for 18 ATR 72-500s; leasing giant GECAS, wihc ordered 15 ATR 72-600s and optioned 15 more; Danish lessor NAC, with orders for 10 ATR 72-600s and two ATR 72-500s and options on 10 ATR 72-600s; and Azul Linhas Aeréas Brasileiras, which ordered 10 ATR 72-600s and optioned 10 more.

ATR’s 2011 customer list continues with Taiwan’s UNI Air, with an order for 10 ATR 72-600s; Brazilian carrier TRIP Linhas Aeréas, which ordered nine ATR 72-600s and took options on 12 more; Australia’s Skywest, with orders for four ATR 72-500s and four ATR 72-600s, as well as options on five more, all of the aircraft to be operated on the Virgin Australia network;  and state-owned Ecuadorian airline TAME, which has purchased three ATR 42-500s.

Additional ATR customers this year include Israir of Israel, which ordered two ATR 72-500s; Malaysia Airlines subsidiary Firefly, which is adding two ATR 72-500s; lessor Air Lease Corporation, a customer for two additional ATR 72-600s; Russia’s Taimyr, which has ordered two ATR 42-600s and optioned two more; and Borajet of Turkey,  whcih ordered one ATR 72-500. In addition, ATR has undisclosed customers in 2011 for 47 ATR 72s and four ATR 42s, along with optionns on another 18 aircraft.

In addition to the firm orders for 145 aircraft that ATR has booked in 2011, customers have taken options on a further 72 aircraft.