Cargo important to ATR’s Covid-recovery strategy

FedEx-ATR 72-600F
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ATR is aiming for a more significant global presence in the next decade, in part by tapping its new-build freighter offering.

The regional and point-to-point aircraft manufacturer says it was quick to react to the circumstances in 2020 by supporting its customers with rapid freight conversion solutions, sanitary tutorials as well as storage and maintenance instructions.

ATR also delivered 10 aircraft and received six gross orders. “Despite the unprecedented market conditions for aircraft manufacturers, 2020 saw nine new operators using ATR aircraft and 84 new routes opened,” ATR says, adding that ATR operators launched services in three new countries.

Last December, the first purpose-built freighter, the ATR 72-600F, was delivered to FedEx. Following the delivery of the first new purpose-built freighter to FedEx, ATR says it is “well-positioned” to benefit from the resilience of the cargo market, already at pre-Covid levels.

Noting that air cargo is expected to double its capacity in the next 20 years, ATR highlights the point-to-point express delivery demand can best be served by its aircraft.

“The Short Take-Off and Landing variant of the ATR42-600 will open a range of opportunities in airports with airstrips between 800 and 1,000 m,” it says. In addition, some 900 ageing regional turboprop aircraft will need to be replaced in the next years.

“While air travel is still in its early phases of recovery, ATR has a clear and actionable plan to overcome the current challenges by continuing to pioneer sustainable and cutting-edge solutions for regional connectivity,” it says.

ATR’s plan for recovery includes:

  • the implementation of incremental improvements into the aircraft family;
  • to enhance operational efficiency and reduce maintenance costs through system upgrades and state-of-the-art avionics and;
  • maintaining the competitive and environmental advantage it offers customers.

Stefano Bortoli, CEO of ATR, states: “2020 has been a challenging year for the travel industry, and we will not see an improvement until the end of the current year.

“However, the vital connectivity that regional air travel has offered throughout the crisis, have made the ATR more attractive for Europe and North America, while turboprops remain the best choice for several underserved regions, where land infrastructure is not a practical choice, in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.”

ATR has already flown with a combination of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) and says it is further investigating its possibilities. To fill the gap from today until new disruptive technologies will be made available, ATR adds it will explore new solutions to further reduce the carbon footprint of the aircraft.

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