Based at Toulouse Blagnac airport in France, ATR (Aerei da Trasporto Regionale or Avions de Transport Régional), the aircraft manufacturer has revealed its plans for 2021 and beyond for dealing with the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aerospace industry as a whole.
2020 was not such a disastrous year for ATR as it managed to deliver ten aircraft and receive six gross orders during a year which saw nine new operators using ATR aircraft and 84 new routes opened. Additionally, ATR operators launched services in three new countries, while last December, the first purpose-built freighter (ATR 72-600F) was delivered to FedEx.
For 2021 the company is looking to implement incremental improvements into the ATR aircraft family, to enhance operational efficiency, and reduce maintenance costs through system upgrades and state-of-the-art avionics. It is now well positioned to benefit from the resilience of a cargo market which is already at pre-COVID level. ATR expects air cargo to double its capacity over the next 20 years and point to point express deliveries can best be served by its aircraft.
While the Short Take Off and Landing variant of the ATR 42-600 will open a range of opportunities in airports with airstrips between 800m and 1,000m, ATR has estimated that approximately 900 older regional turboprop aircraft will need to be replaced in the coming years, and the company is well positioned to meet demand for new aircraft with its more sustainable, cost-efficient and modern planes.
Stefano Bortoli, CEO of ATR, stated: “2020 has been a challenging year for the travel industry, and we will not see an improvement until the end of the current year. However, the vital connectivity that regional air travel has offered throughout the crisis, have made the ATR more attractive for Europe and North America, while turboprops remain the best choice for several underserved regions, where land infrastructure is not a practical choice, in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.”