Regional aircraft manufacturer ATR has stated an aim of having an in-country fleet of 25-30 highly-efficient ATR 72 aircraft within the next seven years.
The OEM provided its forecast during a media briefing on the first day of the inaugural Gyeongbuk Aerospace, Defence and Logistics Exhibition (GADLEX) held in Gumi city.
Jean-Pierre Clercin, ATR’s Head of Commercial for Asia Pacific says: “Korea has many under-utilised domestic airports, and scheduled domestic flights are mainly north-south. ATR sees opportunity to develop east-west routes, linking communities living along the east coast to places in Korea’s western part, and the ATR is the ideal platform to create these links, considering the passenger volume, geography and distance. Besides, our 78-seat ATR 72 aircraft can take-off and land from a 1,200m runway in dry and wet conditions as per Korean rules, such as the one being developed on Ulleungdo Island. Our aircraft can therefore contribute to offer more responsible, affordable and convenient travel options, remaining profitable while serving the smallest communities, which makes it an inclusive and resilient proposition.”
“We have seen operators try and fail to operate regional jets on domestic routes, and particularly on short distances, because these jets have higher operating costs, due mainly to higher fuel burn and maintenance costs,” says Clercin. “There are instances where regional jets operators have later replaced their aircraft with ATR 72s, because our aircraft have unbeatable economics on routes less than 300NM due to the 45% lower fuel burn. Fuel accounts for 40% of an airline’s total cost base, so reducing fuel burn has a hugely positive impact on the airline’s profitability. This contributes to making airlines more resilient in an ever more volatile market environment”.
ATR also sees opportunities for its aircraft to open new short-haul passenger routes linking Korea to Northeast China and Southern Japan, as well as dedicated freighter services to these markets