Turboprop regional airliner manufacturer ATR has announced firm orders for a total of 14 aircraft from two customers on the first day of the Paris Air Show 2015, one of the customers also securing commitments on 15 additional ATR turboprops.
ATR has also announced that during the five-day-long trade-only part of the Paris Air Show it expects to announce firm orders for a total of 46 of its regional turboprops and options for another 35, the 81 aircraft valued at US$1.98 billion at list price. The orders come from five continents, according to the manufacturer.
The first order announced by ATR at the Paris Air Show 2015, for eight ATR 42-600s from JAL Group regional carrier Japan Air Commuter (JAC), represents a milestone for ATR in that it brings the manufacturer’s total orderbook for ATR turboprops to more than 1,500 aircraft.
ATR says its orders outstanding now total nearly 300 aircraft, the equivalent of more than three years of production.
In its first aircraft deal with ATR, which is also the first-ever contract the manufacturer has signed with a Japanese airline, JAC has also taken an option on one more ATR 42-600 and secured purchase rights on 14 more.
If JAC converts the commitments and ends up placing firm orders for all 23 aircraft, its order would have a total list-price value of $496 million, according to ATR.
The second order announced by ATR on June 15 is a follow-on purchase by Canary Islands-based Spanish regional carrier Binter Canarias, which has ordered six more ATR 72-600 turboprops
This latest order from Binter Canarias, which was originally owned by Spain’s flag carrier Iberia but was purchased in 2002 by a group of local entrepreneurs, follows a February 2014 order for six ATR 72-600s from the airline.
It brings the Telde, Gran Canarias-based regional carrier’s total purchases of ATR aircraft to 30, according to ATR.
Today Binter Canarias operates a fleet of 16 ATR 72-500 turboprops, the ATR 72-500 being the direct predecessor to the ATR 72-600.
This fleet of 16 ATR turboprops represents one of the largest fleet of ATR aircraft in Europe, according to ATR.
Since it began operating in 1989, Binter has carried more than 35 million passengers, on inter-archipelago Canary Islands domestic flights and on services linking the Canary Islands with Morocco, the Portuguese island of Madeira and the African island nation of Cabo Verde.
Deliveries of Binter’s 72-seat ATR 72-600s begin this year and will be completed by 2017. Binter will ultimately use them to replace the ATR 72-500s it is currently operating.
According to ATR, JAC will take delivery of its first new 50-seat ATR 42-600 in 2017, and will receive the remaining aircraft over the following three years.
Japan Air Commuter will use its ATR 42-600s to replace its current regional airliners on its main routes as well as on operations to smaller Japanese islands, according to ATR.
If this statement proves true, it would represent a considerable coup for ATR: in addition to operating 10 Saab 340Bs, JAC also flies 11 74-seat Bombardier Q400s.
“The ATR42-600 is a perfect match for the regional routes of JAL Group by its economical, environmental and operational specifications,” says Arata Yasujima, president of Japan Air Commuter.
“Also, we believe that the high level of ATR’s reliability and our quality of operation will satisfy our passenger’s needs,” adds Yasujima. “This brand-new aircraft will take our passengers to many beautiful destinations, especially the islands of Kagoshima [in the] southern part of Japan.”
“Japan is a very interesting market, with some 100 regional aircraft, including over 50 aging turboprops, which may be replaced in the near future,” remarks Patrick de Castelbajac, chief executive officer of ATR.
“In order to further develop our presence there and to more effectively serve the Japanese regional aviation market, we have established a new regional representation office in Tokyo,” adds de Castelbajac.
Founded in 1983, Japan Air Commuter is 60 per cent-owned by Japan Airlines. JAC’s remaining shares are jointly held by the 12 municipalities of the Amami Islands of Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan’s southern Kyushu region.
Based at Kagoshima Airport, Japan Air Commuter operates 141 daily flights on 27 routes and serves as the essential public air transport provider for 1.8 million passengers annually between the Amami islands and Western Japan.