With more than 130 converted freighters in service, ATR has finally handed over a purpose-built variant
FedEx Express has become the first cargo airline in the world to take delivery of a dedicated freighter from French turboprop manufacturer ATR.
The aircraft, EI-GUL (c/n 1653) is the first of 30 examples included in a firm order it signed in 2017, which included the option to purchase 20 more.
The twin-engine turboprop is expected to soon arrive at Shannon Airport where it will be operated by ASL Airlines Ireland, a FedEx ATR operator since 2000, as part of the FedEx Express Feeder fleet.
There are currently around 130 converted ATR freighter aircraft in operation, representing around one third of the global regional freighter fleet and this brand-new ATR 72-600F in the first line-produced example.
Stefano Bortoli, chief executive officer of ATR, said: “Every manufacturer is proud when it develops and delivers a brand new aircraft, and given the uniquely challenging year the industry and the whole world has faced, handing over to FedEx Express this very first ATR 72-600F is an exciting and rewarding moment for our whole team here in ATR. Freighters play a huge role in supplying essential connectivity between economies all over the world and the unique aspects of our modern purpose-built freighter mean it will deliver operational benefits to companies that integrate them into their fleet.”
The ATR 72-600F benefits from a purpose-built freighter fuselage with a clean design that is optimised for cargo and has been delivered by the turboprop’s Italian shareholder Leonardo, from its facilities in Naples.
The type’s large cargo door facilitates the loading of nine tonnes of payload and offer the option of carrying either bulk cargo, or when in unit load device (ULD) mode, five pallets or up to seven LD3 containers.