Home' Asian Aviation : AAV June 2014 Contents AsianAviation | JUNE 2014 29
aiming for certification this year, with first deliveries
to follow to Chengdu Airlines. In December, the
manufacturer rolled out the first two ARJ21-700s
which are destined for Chengdu. In April one
aircraft returned to China following the successful
completion of natural icing tests in North America.
“The research and development of the ARJ21
programme has entered the final and critical period,”
says COMAC. The manufacturer has 250-plus
orders for the aircraft.
But it’s not just all about regional jets. Turboprop
manufacturer ATR has had considerable sales
success in the Asia-Pacific region. In total, the
European manufacturer has 950 aircraft in service
worldwide, with 300 on order. Of these, more than
280 are in service in the Asia-Pacific region, with
a further 120 aircraft to be delivered, not including
those destined for Asia-Pacific carriers via lessors.
Since 2005 ATR has received orders for more than
170 ATR 72s from ASEAN carriers.
The European manufacturer has started the year
off in strong form, booking over 100 firm orders in
the first four months of the year alone – representing
over 80% of total orders for regional aircraft below
90-seats and already ahead of the total for 2013.
“There is still huge potential for ATRs in the Asia-
Pacific, particularly in South East Asia where there is
strong demand for regional connections and strong
traffic growth,” says the manufacturer.
In particular Indonesia is a good market. Since
2008, ATR has received firm orders for more than
85 aircraft, with around 100 aircraft expected to be
in operation in the country in the next two years. Late
last year, Garuda Indonesia put its first ATR 72-600
into service. The airline has firm orders for 25 of the
type with options on a further 10 through leasing firm
Nordic Aviation Capital.
Last year Malaysia Airlines’ subsidiaries Firefly and
MASwings also took delivery of their first ATR 72-
600s of an order for 36 ATR 72-600s – 20 firm plus
16 options. Firefly already operates 12 ATR 72-500s.
Meanwhile, the ATR 72-600 entered the Japanese
market late last year with the first put into service by
new regional operator Air Link.
This year has already seen Taiwanese carrier
TransAsia Airways introduce its first of 12 ATR 72-
600s as part of a fleet renewal and growth plan, with
deliveries planned over two years.
Bangkok Airways was recently revealed as a
previously unidentified customer for eight ATR 72-
600s – six firm plus two options. Bangkok Airways
has been an ATR customer for 20 years, currently
operating eight ATR 72-500s. The first of the new
aircraft will be delivered later this year.
ATR’s focus today is on increasing its production
rates – from 80 aircraft deliveries this year to over 90
planned for 2015. Product development evaluations
are also under way, with the manufacturer continuing
to deliberate the merits of a larger capacity turboprop
around 90 seats – which has particular appeal
to Asia-Pacific customers. “We understand it may
have strong demand from markets like Asia-Pacific
where traffic is growing and airlines aim to further
decrease operating costs per seat due to the strong
competition,” says ATR. The project, however, is
“still subject to the green light from our shareholders
Airbus Group and Finmeccanica”, it adds.
Bombardier has 1,200 QSeries turboprops in
service or on order worldwide, including almost 500
Q400s, with 190 of these in the Asia-Pacific region,
including 90 Q400s. Thailand’s Nok Air is launch
customer for Bombardier’s latest evolution of the
Q400 turboprop – the Q400 NextGen, featuring
improved passenger comfort and environmental
performance. Nok Air has ordered four aircraft,
with purchase rights on four. Nok Air is also launch
customer for a new extra capacity seating option –
up to 86 seats.
Late last year, China’s Nantong Tongzhou Bay
Aviation Industry Co signed a letter of intent for 30
firm Q400 NextGen turboprops for operation by its
new airline Sutong Airlines from 2015. Bombardier
says the Q400 NextGen is ideal for China’s vast
geography, with low operating costs, high reliability,
payload capability and excellent short-haul range. ✈
ATR has performed particularly
well in the Asia-Pacific region
“There is still huge potential for
ATRs in the Asia-Pacific, particularly in
South East Asia where there is strong
demand for regional connections and
strong traffic growth.”
29/05/2014 8:17:10 PM
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