It has been a long time since ATR made a sale in the USA.  But today they got great news.   Fort-Lauderdale, Florida Silver Airways announced an intention to purchase up to 50 ATR42-600s (20 firm) valued at a $1.1 billion if all options are excercised.  Currently the airline operates 21 SAAB 340s, which are aging.

The ATR42 seats 46 compared to 34 on the SAAB.  The airline’s order allows them to switch up to the 68 seat ATR72-600.  The deal is big news for ATR that showed off the ATR72 on a USA demo last year.  At the time the airline sounded optimistic it would win customers for its new aircraft.  That optimism proved well founded.

But the other side of the deal is equally big news. This is a significant gauge increase for the airline.  The ATR42 seats 35% more passengers.  With 20 firm orders it is clear the intent is to replace all their SAABs.  Industry load factors are high.  According to the DOT’s T-100 data, Silver Airways load factors average 64% YTD.  That does not square with the ATR capacity.  Their average distance flown was 226 miles.

According to the DOT’s T-100 data, Silver Airways load factors average 64% YTD.  That does not square with the larger ATR capacity.  The average distance flown was 226 miles which is well inside the ATR’s ability.  Exciting as the fleet renewal is, it looks like also being a challenge.

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