Turboprop maker ATR says it secured firm orders for 52 aircraft in calendar 2018 in what it described as a difficult environment due to the suspension of deliveries to Iran Air.
The total of 52 firm orders is down significantly from the 113 firm orders achieved in calendar 2017. However, the 2017 total was boosted by India-based IndiGo’s order for 50 ATR 72-600s.
In calendar 2016, ATR secured 36 firm orders.
ATR said there were 20 orders for its 72-600 turboprop in 2018.
The company, which is based in Toulouse, France and jointly held by Airbus and Leonardo, said ATR aircraft created 113 new routes in 2018.
“With around 62 per cent of the turboprop orders for the year, the modern ATR -600s continues to be the preferred choice of regional airlines,” the company said in a statement.
“The 2018 results provide ATR with a solid backlog representing almost three years of production.”
Its ATR 72-600, which seats 68 seats in a standard one-class configuration, competes with Bombardier’s Q400. The ATR 42-600 is designed to carry 48 passengers.
In 2017, Iran Air signed a deal to purchase 20 ATR turboprop aircraft. The airline had received 13 of that order before the United States government introduced fresh economic sanctions against Iran that came into effect in August 2018.
ATR said it had managed to find new owners for those aircraft originally earmarked for Iran Air.
“In a difficult environment, ATR succeeded in reallocating the aircraft it was unable to deliver to Iran Air,” ATR said.
VIDEO: The delivery ceremony for the first four ATR 72-600s for Iran Air in May 2017 the ATR YouTube channel.
ATR said it delivered 76 aircraft in calendar 2018, which included new customers Silver Airways in the United States, Ewa Air in the French island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean and Hokkaido Air System (HAC) in Japan.
Delivery milestones in 2018 included the 1000th ATR 72 series aircraft and the 1,500th ATR aircraft.
ATR’s most recent market forecast, published in July 2018, showed the Asia Pacific region was expected to require 740 new turboprops over the next two decades to support the introduction of new routes and growing demand for travel from so-called secondary cities.
The figure did not include the Chinese market.
Of the 740 new turboprops, ATR said it expected 425 aircraft to be used for growth, with 315 earmarked to replace older aircraft.
The installed turboprop fleet in the Asia Pacific region was tipped to grow from 590 aircraft in 2017 to 1,015 in 2037, split between 140 aircraft in the 50-seat segment and 600 in the 70-seat segment.
ATR operators in this part of the world include Air New Zealand, PNG Air and Virgin Australia.