Buoyant long-term demand for turboprops has been predicted by ATR in its latest long-term forecast. The company says there is a requirement for 3,020 new turboprops over the next 20 years to replace in-service aircraft and capture market growth. By 2037, ATR predicts, 4,060 turboprops will be in service, up from 2,260 aircraft at the end of last year.
The forecast predicts a need for 2,390 aircraft with 61 to 80 seats, the category served by the ATR 72. The company envisages a need for a further 630 aircraft in the 40–60- seat market served by the ATR 42, predicting “strong potential for the up-gauge of 30-seat, and the replacement of 50-seat, regional aircraft”. ATR believes the largest demand for turboprops will come from Asia (43% of the market), followed by Europe, Africa and Middle East (31%) and the Americas (26%). The company also estimates a need for 460 turboprop freighters. ATR offers freighter conversion options for its aircraft and launched the ATR 72-600 Freighter last year.
ATR saw a slight slowdown in new business for a couple of years, from the company-record 160 firm orders in 2014 to 76 in 2015, then 71 in 2016. However, sales rebounded to 113 in 2017 and the company believes regional aviation’s continued development will drive the higher demand it forecasts long term. The company predicts regional traffic will grow at 4.5% per year and that around 30% of the traffic in 2037 will be generated from regional routes served with turboprops that do not currently exist. Mark Broadbent