Poor ATR results in 2020 reinforce bad times for passenger turboprops

Planemaker delivered only 10 aircraft last year, down 85% from 2019, but expects to grow again this year

The outlook for passenger turboprops has not been the best with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic. Shortly after De Havilland Canada announced a pause in the production of Dash 8, ATR reported bad figures this week in its 2020 annual report.

The joint venture between Airbus and Leonardo delivered just 10 aircraft last year, up from 68 units in 2019, down 85%. Despite the disappointing result, the manufacturer expects to deliver at least 20 planes this year.

Among the models delivered in 2020 are a single ATR 42 and the first ATR 72-600F, a cargo variant that had FedEx as a launch customer.

Despite the bad moment, ATR says it has a backlog of 176 orders and that it received six new orders last year.

Fedex first ATR 72-600F (ATR)

Due to the 10 deliveries, ATR ended up being overtaken by DHC, which sent 11 Dash 8 to its customers in 2020. The Franco-Italian company, however, dominates the regional segment by a wide margin.

The concern, however, is that most of the regional airlines that operate their planes have very fragile financial health, which affects any future planning, between expanding or renewing the fleet.

Even so, the regional turboprop market is expected to gain new players such as the German D328eco and the Chinese MA700.

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