December 18, 2012
ATR is planning to increase production next year to more than 80 aircraft. It also appears confident of securing one more large order in the coming days. “There was a significant increase in production this year,” ATR CEO Filippo Bagnato tells Aviation Week in Singapore, adding that this year the total number of aircraft built will be 65 and that “next year it will go beyond 80.”
The most recent order came from Brazilian carrier AviancaTaca, which earlier this month ordered 15 ATR 72-600s with first deliveries set for June 2013. ATR has an order backlog of 220 aircraft, but Bagnato says the aircraft maker can still provide some early delivery slots to meet customer needs. “We have a dynamic structure. We have to play day-by-day to make available the slots,” he says.
Garuda Indonesia’s Citilink, which is due to decide this month on an order for up to 50 turboprop aircraft, is considering the ATR 72-600 and the Bombardier Q400. Citilink has said publicly it wants first deliveries at the end of 2013’s third quarter or early fourth quarter.
Bagnato says that ATR can fulfill this requirement and that the airframer and airline are in active negotiations. Garuda CEO Emirsyah Sata told Aviation Week in October that the request for proposals stipulates that manufacturers competing for the turboprop aircraft order must provide a solution to finding pilots for the aircraft. Garuda is unable to provide pilots to Citilink for the turboprop operation because its pilots are needed for Boeing 737 and Boeing 777 operations.
Bagnato says ATR can help Citilink source foreign pilots. He says there are pilots in Europe who are type-rated for ATR aircraft and could come to Indonesia. Lufthansa’s ATR operation Air Dolomiti, for example, has announced it will be downsizing, which will make ATR pilots available, he adds.
Bagnato was reluctant to comment further on the competition to win Citilink’s business, adding that he generally likes to refrain from commenting publicly while still in the negotiation stage. Bagnato was speaking to Aviation Week on Dec. 14 at an event at Seletar Aerospace Park to celebrate the opening of an ATR-owned pilot simulator training center, which has a full-motion flight simulator, built by CAE, that is designed for training pilots to fly the ATR 72-600. Some of Bagnato’s colleagues, who also were at the opening of the training center, were bullish on the prospect of winning the Citilink competition.
ATR Senior VP-Product and Services Lilian Brayle said at a news conference that ATR “hopes to share some very good news with you in the coming days.” He adds, “We’re very optimistic” that in the coming days the order backlog from Asia Pacific will increase.