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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.

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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.

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North American airlines, like WestJet, we understand, selected the Q400 over the ATR because… Continue reading

India has long been a promising market for commercial aviation.  Limitations have come from infrastructure (too few airports) and an interfering government.   Another source of difficulty for India’s hard-pressed airlines has been fuel prices.  Airlines face a myriad of taxes on fuel.  Sometimes this could mean paying up to 50% more for fuel than in competing markets. Fortunately the decline in oil prices have given the industry a boost.  Fuel charges constitute 50-60% of the total operating costs for Indian airlines. For members of The Association of European Airlines members fuel costs are at 33% of operating costs.

We have looked at this market before and still think India is ripe for more turboprops. India taxes fuel for jets differently than for turboprops.  The latter are fortunate that they much less for fuel.  This should be a big incentive to add turboprops… Continue reading

Industry talk about the need for a 90-seat turboprop is well known.  Both of the principal OEMs, ATR and Bombardier, have not rushed to develop something new.  As we have heard both OEMs say at ISTAT – the business case for developing a new aircraft isn’t there.

Today Bombardier announced their Q400 can now seat 90.  The company estimates the 12 to 14 additional seats deliver ~$8m in extra value to customers.  Further boosting the aircraft,  Bombardier also  announced a 2,000 lb-increase in payload and an escalation of the A-Check and C-Check intervals from 600/6,000 to 800/8,000 flight hours, all available for entry-into-service as early as 2018.

Previously the maximum seating on the Q400 was 86 on Nok Air.

Speaking in a meeting with the officials from Ministry of Roads and Urban Development in Tehran, Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders said the first delivery of 20 ATRs to Iran will start in November and will last through 2018.  Iran Air finalized a contract with ATR on February 1 to purchase 20 aircraft.

Managing Director of Iran Air Farhad Parvaresh said earlier that Iran Air will receive two to four aircraft in 2016. The ATRs accommodate 70 passengers and will be flown on short routes, he explained.

So “first blood” to ATR.  However we await to see how the rest of the recent Iranian aircraft order plays out.  It appears the aircraft are all headed to the national airline.  Clearly it has ambitions to match regional competitors.  This will be a tough challenge.  But another item getting scant attention – what about the various… Continue reading