ATR bullish about turboprop market
ATR, a French turboprop aircraft manufacturer that makes planes with less than 90 seats, said it is bullish on the huge growth potential of the regional aircraft market in China, and foresees demand for 300 new turboprops in China over the next two decades.
Regional network growth is the next big opportunity in China, with some 800 new regional routes expected to be flown by turboprops, company executives said at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai.
Nearly 80 percent of the turboprops expected for delivery in China will be used for new routes, particularly in less densely populated cities and regions, where they have lessdeveloped road infrastructure, limitations to developing high-speed railways and lower traffic demand.
Currently, regional aircraft account for only 2.5 percent of the total fleet operating in China, compared with 25 percent worldwide, said ATR, a joint venture between Airbus Group and Italy-based aerospace company Leonardo-Finmeccanica.
“We see a tremendous potential to introduce modern turboprops for short-haul routes in China, especially in areas such as the commuting between smaller cities, chartered aircraft for business and travel and cross-sea routes,” said John Moore, ATR’s head of global sales.
“There is a real need to further develop regional connectivity in China, both between smaller towns and from smaller towns to larger hubs. Regional aviation is essential to providing more efficient connections and to fueling economic growth.”
ATR and Shaanxi Tianju Investment Group have agreed to co-develop the short-haul air market in Northwest China by using ATR aircraft.
Currently, there is no ATR aircraft flying in China, as the regional aircraft market in the country has been underdeveloped, Moore said.
ATR, however, has had Chinese suppliers for more than 20 years.
Over the next 20 years, among the 300 expected deliveries of new turboprops, 270 would be in the 61-80 seat segment and 30 in the 40-60 seat segment, the company said.
By 2020, China plans to build more than 500 airports and create a market worth morethan 1 trillion yuan ($148 billion) for its general aviation industry, the government announced in June.
A model of an ATR regional turboprop aircraft on display in Beijing.