ATR confirmed on Monday that it will cut the production rate for ATR 42 and 72 turboprops in the coming weeks. The information was given by the CEO of Franco-Italian manufacturer Stefano Bortoli to Reuters.
“Of course we are going to reduce; we will see later how much,” Bortoli said. Currently, the company produces about six aircraft a month and has seen its deliveries drop from 76 units in 2018 to 68 turboprops last year.
Orders increased at the same time, from 52 orders in 2018 to 79 aircraft in 2019. However, the CEO of ATR attributes this variation to the volatility of the regional aviation market.
ATR has by far the largest share of passenger turboprops sales for several years when its main competitors abandoned this market, such as Embraer, Saab, Dornier and British Aerospace. Only Bombardier continued to offer the Q400, which however was sold to the Longview group. Still, the model has little commercial relevance.
Although there is a movement favorable to the resumption of demand for turboprop aircraft, which are more economical, the financial fragility of many regional airlines has increased the risks of bankruptcies.
For reasons like this, ATR has tried to diversify the possibilities of using its planes. Last year, the manufacturer launched a new variant of the ATR 42 for short runway operations to attract more interested parties.
Another initiative was to launch a cargo variant of the ATR 72-600 turboprop, which was ordered by the giant FedEx. The first planes will be delivered by the end of this year, despite the pandemic.