ATR hopes to “emerge stronger” from Covid-19 but forecasts slow recovery

Stefano Bortoli

ATR’s CEO Stefano Bortoli believes there won’t be an improvement in the general conditions facing the travel industry until the end of the current year – but says the regional aircraft manufacturer will “emerge stronger” from the Covid-19 crisis.

The company said it would focus on strengthening its global presence in the next decade while continuing to offer “the most sustainable and modern option” for regional air travel.

ATR noted that it reacted to the Covid-19 crisis by supporting its customers with freight conversion solutions, sanitary tutorials as well as storage and maintenance instructions.

ATR 72-600F

In 2020, the company delivered 10 aircraft and received six gross orders. Nine new operators used ATR aircraft during the year, with 84 new routes opening. In addition, ATR operators launched services in three new countries.

As reported, the company delivered its first purpose-built freighter, the ATR 72-600F, to FedEx in December.

ATR infographic 1
Source: ATR. Click to enlarge.

“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,” commented Bortoli.

ATR today (17 March) outlined a plan for recovery for 2021 and beyond. It includes:

  • The implementation of incremental improvements into the aircraft family, to “enhance operational efficiency and reduce maintenance costs through system upgrades and, maintaining the competitive and environmental advantage we offer to our customers”.
  • ATR expects to benefit from the resilience of the cargo market, which is already at pre-Covid levels; the 72-600F will help with this. The company noted that air cargo is expected to double its capacity in the next 20 years. “Point to point express deliveries can best be served by our aircraft,” ATR said.
  • The short take off and landing variant of the ATR42-600 is anticipated to “open a range of opportunities” in airports with airstrips between 800 and 1,000m.
  • Around 900 ageing regional turboprop will need to be replaced in the next years, ATR noted.

ATR said it would also further investigate the possibilities of using sustainable aviation fuels. “To fill the gap from today until new disruptive technologies will be made available, ATR will explore new solutions to further reduce the carbon footprint of the aircraft,” it concluded.

ATR infographic 2
Source: ATR. Click to enlarge.

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