ATR’s United States comeback


NEW ATR passenger turboprops have been ordered for the United States market for the first time in decades. Twenty ATR 600-series aircraft comprising 16 ATR 42-600s and four ATR 72-600s, all on lease from Nordic Aviation Capital, are to be operated by Fort Lauderdalebased Silver Airways.

The first aircraft, an ATR 42-600 configured with 46 seats in a 2-2 layout at 32in (812mm) pitch, was due to be delivered in March. The remaining deliveries are expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2020. The ATRs will replace 21 Saab 340Bs and will be used to increase frequencies and open new services to southern United States and Caribbean destinations.

The operation of ATRs by Silver Airways represents a further inroad by the type into the United States after FedEx ordered the newly launched ATR 72-600 Freighter late last year. Sales of ATRs in North America have lagged over the years, due to the increasing popularity of regional jets and competition from Bombardier’s Dash 8 Q400.

However, ATR says there are currently 250 turboprop airliners over 15 years old operating in the United States that need replacing, creating a valuable market opportunity. Mark Broadbent