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June 24, 2024
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ATR, the world’s largest maker of commercial turboprops, is trying to reenter the North American market.  This past week the company has been showing off its latest iteration, the ATR72-600 in Canada.  This is part of a two week sales tour of North America.


The aircraft outsells the competing Bombardier Q400 everywhere, except North America.  Consequently the company is bringing their aircraft to the market for a “show & tell”.  Next week the airplane goes to the Regional Airlines Association annual conference, where both trade press and airlines will get a chance for a first hand look.

ATR didn’t shrink back from showing their aircraft right in Bombardier’s backyard.  Hope may spring eternal, but the ATR is cheaper than the Q400 and for virtually every airline, that is all that matters.


North American airlines, like WestJet, we understand, selected the Q400 over the ATR because of the Q’s performance.  The Q400 has far more power (the Q’s PW150 has 82% more power than the ATR’s PW127).  Airlines operating near mountains, especially the Rockies want and need that power.   Losing an engine over mountains could be a very critical issue for an operator.  But along with that power comes higher costs.

Consequently ATR feels its time to try again to break into the North American market.  Meanwhile, ATR has expressed interest in developing a newer and larger turboprop.  But this has not been favored by co-owner Airbus, who do not believe there is a sufficient business case.  This is the same view at Bombardier.  However the other co-owner of ATR, Finmeccanica (now Leonardo Aerospace) do want to work on this.  There is some disruption within ATR as a result.

Even as the ATR owners have heated discussions, Airbus is already working with Siemens on a hybrid electric drive solution for an aircraft up to 100 seats.  ATR may be doing the right thing by showing off their latest aircraft.  But industry insiders might wonder what ATR and its aircraft might look like in five years time.  Indeed, what any of the current turboprops might look like if and when Airbus and Siemens get this right.

author avatar
Addison Schonland
Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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