Turboprop manufacturer ATR delivered 76 aircraft in 2018 and booked 52 firm orders, and is aiming to tap into the Asia Pacific market, particularly China, for growth opportunities.

Between 2017 and 2018 ATR achieved a total of 165 orders and 154 deliveries, and achieved a book to bill ratio above 1. 2018 also saw the company reach an annual turnover of US$1.8 billion.

Out of the 52 firm orders, 20 are for ATR 42-600s, ATR said: “With around 62% of the turboprop orders for the year, the modern ATR-600s continues to be the preferred choice of regional airlines.”

The 2018 results provide ATR with a backlog representing nearly three years of production.

The company faced a challenge in 2018, when the trade sanctions with Iran restricted the amount of aircraft it could hand over to customer Iran Air. Following delivery of eight aircraft in 2017, the plan was to deliver 12 aircraft to the airline in 2018, but restrictions limited ATR’s ability to deliver aircraft to Iran Air to five aircraft in 2018. ATR successfully reallocated the seven aircraft it was unable to deliver to the airline.

Despite the challenges, Stefano Bortoli, the CEO of ATR, told journalists at a company press briefing that 2018 was a “year to celebrate for ATR in a number of regions.”

The company welcomed three new ATR operators during the year, Ewa Air in Mayotte in the Indian Ocean, HAC in Japan, and Silver in the US. The deal with the US also meant a return for ATR to the US market.

The manufacturer is now aiming to tap into growing markets, particularly in China and the Asia Pacific, which Bortoli called the “most significant” area for ATR. Bortoli suggested the ATR is the “perfect fit” for launching new, thin routes and developing regional airports. He added that ATR aims to certify the 42-600 in China in 2019.

The turboprop manufacturer also met three delivery milestones in 2018, delivering its 1,000th ATR 72, its 500th -600 series aircraft, seven years after the launch of the programme, and it’s 1,500th ATR aircraft.

ATR also signed the first contracts for aircraft equipped with its new ClearVision system, for Aurigny and Drukair, designed to “improve visibility conditions in heavy rain, fog and night.”

Discussing the strengths of ATRs products, Bortoli said: “We have continuously invested in the improvement of the product,” highlighting the investments in the aircraft interiors in 2018, including the introduction of the new Neo-Classic and Neo-Prestige passenger seats, which became standard on all new ATRs, and the optional standalone wireless In-Flight Entertainment system- Cabinstream.

Meanwhile, the company also installed a new training simulator in Toulouse and introduced a new 24/7 Customer Service Center. ATR also gained 15% more customers for its tailor-made pay-by-the-hour maintenance programme, the Global Maintenance Agreement (GMA).

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