ATR announced today it has a deal with IndiGo for 50 ATR72-600s. The deal allows the airline to reduce that number if necessary. The first delivery should be before year end.
IndiGo is in a rapid growth spurt. It has over 400 A320neos on order and is already the largest user of this model. India’s air travel market is growing fast, and IndiGo plans to be the main beneficiary of this. The Indian Government’s Regional Connectivity Scheme, called UDAN, aims to boost economic development, employment, and tourism by connecting small and remote cities. These communities do not have large runways, so a turboprop is the most efficient solution.
India’s rapidly expanding domestic air travel market had close to 100 million passengers in 2016 and has been growing steadily by more than 20% per year. Consequently, it is expected to become the world’s third largest market by 2020. Under the Regional Connectivity Scheme, 100 new airports will be created within the next three years, and airlines will receive financial support and other incentives to make air travel affordable. A key issue here is that turboprops not only burn less fuel, Indian taxes on Jet A for turboprops is at a much lower level than for regular jet turbines.
These new airports that the ATRs will serve will all need ground power as the aircraft does not have an APU. For small communities, this small item may hold back air service. But as these new airports are developed, the ATR should have access to ground power.