ATR has regained important access to the Chinese market after the Chinese regulatory authorities validated the type certificate of the 42-600 turboprop. This comes over two years since the airframer sought re-certification of its aircraft in the country. ATR cleared to re-enter China after certification of 42-600.

On the first day of the Zhuhai Airshow, ATR announced that validation has been approved. The turboprop maker also said that it had won an order for three aircraft from an undisclosed Chinese customer, but that it hopes to win more orders soon. ATR’s forecast sees a market for 280 turboprop aircraft in China in the next twenty years.

ATR lost access to the Chinese new aircraft market after it stopped producing the 42-500. It needed a revalidation of the certificate for what is internally called modification 5948, which is the 42-600. As part of the re-certification process, ATR performed a special, three-hour test flight from Francazal Airport to Toulouse with an 42-600 with representatives of the CAAC and EASA on July 3, 2020. At the time, ATR hoped to receive the type certificate in the autumn of 2020, but mainly due to Covid, this has been delayed until recently.

“Receiving CAAC’s validation of the ATR 42-600 type certificate, along with a firm order, is a major achievement marking the re-introduction of ATR turboprops in China”, said ATR’s new CEO, Nathalie Tarnaud Laude. “The ATR 42-600 will undoubtedly prove to be a game-changer. ATR offers an eco-responsible alternative to jets while bringing comfort and convenience to passengers, and essential air services for communities and businesses to thrive.

China produces its own turboprop aircraft, the Xian MA60, but its design is based on the old Antonov An-24. AVIC announced a new-generation aircraft, the MA700, some years ago, which first flew in September 2021. The MA700 has been the victim of trade sanctions from the Canadian government, which prevented Pratt & Whitney Canada from delivering PW-150 engines to China. Since then, the project is on hold.

ATR predicts a strong market for turboprop aircraft as the government plans to invest in new, regional airports. “By 2035, we anticipate that over 150 airports will be built in China and turboprops will play a key role in creating a new network of short, thin routes, complementing the high-speed train offering,” says Fabrice Vautier, Senior Vice President Commercial aircraft, in a media statement.

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Active as journalist since 1987, starting with regional newspaper Zwolse Courant. Grand Prix reporter in 1997 at Dutch monthly Formule 1, general reporter Lelystad/Flevoland at De Stentor/Dagblad Flevoland, from 2002 until June 2021 radio/tv reporter/presentor with Omroep Flevoland.
Since mid-2016 freelance aviation journalist, since June 2021 fully dedicated to aviation. Reporter/editor AirInsight since December 2018. Contributor to Airliner World, Piloot & Vliegtuig. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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