ATR is launching its ATR 42-600S, the short take-off and landing (STOL) variant of its ATR 42-600 turboprop aircraft, following authorisation from its board of directors.

The manufacturer said the new version of the ATR 42-600 features take-off and landing capabilities on runways as short as 800m with 40 passengers on board in standard flight conditions.

Certification for the STOL variant is expected for the second half of 2022, with the first delivery expected immediately after.

ATR has recorded 20 commitments from operators and lessors for the ATR 42-600S variant to-date, including Elix Aviation Capital who will be the launch lessor and Air Tahiti as the launch operator.

“Adding the ATR 42-600S to our family makes total sense and paves the way for the company’s future,” commented ATR chief executive officer Stefano Bortoli. “There is a huge potential for 50-seater aircraft and the ATR 42-600S could help airlines widen their horizons, as it can reach up to around 500 new airports across the globe.”

“This is clear illustration of our dedication in helping more people and more remote communities benefit from being part of a connected world and in a sustainable way,” Bortoli continued.

The principal modifications for the variant will concern the introduction of a larger rudder, allowing increased control of the aircraft at lower speeds. The new version will continue to use the same engine as the ATR 42 and 72, but the ATR 42-600S will, however, allow pilots to be able to select between the ATR 42 and 72 engine ratings. ATR said this means pilots can opt for the aircraft can use increased power for performing STOL operations, or elect to operate more efficiently with less power on longer runways.

The ATR 42-600S will also be able to symmetrically deploy its spoilers to improve braking efficiency on landing and will also come with an autobrake system which will ensure that the full braking power occurs immediately upon landing.

With the new aircraft version, ATR forecasts to expand the addressable market by 25%, targeting new routes and the 30-seater STOL segment. The company suggested there is a “strong interest” from airlines for a new 50-seater product capable of operating in more constrained conditions.

Close to 500 airports have a runway of between 800 – 1,000m that ATR said could “welcome” the ATR 42-600S.

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