ATR yesterday secured its first deal in a long time from a U.S. customer when Gecas agreed to buy 15 of the turboprops.
It may be seen as an unusual move for a GE-owned business to buy a Pratt & Whitney-powered aircraft, but there may be more to the deal that is apparent on the surface.
But GE has plenty of reason to try to seek favor with the EADS/Finmeccanica joint venture. Filippo Bagnato, ATR's CEO, says the time may be right next year for the company to go to its board members and seek authorization to launch a new family of 70-90 seat turboprops.
ATR has been working with a range of engine providers to potentially power the future family. The number has gradually come down, leaving Pratt and GE in the running. Securing the engine deal for the new turboprop promises to yield big returns.