ATR Unveils The First ATR 600 Series Aircraft





ATR Unveils The First ATR 600 Series Aircraft

By Bill Goldston


October 1, 2009, Today, ATR officially presented the first aircraft of its new ‘-600’ series. The aircraft, an ATR 72-600 prototype, was unveiled during a ceremony, which took place in Toulouse, under the patronage of Dominique Bussereau, Secretary of State for Transport, represented by Patrick Gandil, General Director of French Civil Aviation.  

Launched in October 2007, the new ‘-600’ series follows its development phase according to the schedule planned for the two models, the ATR 72-600 and the ATR 42-600, of which the first commercial aircraft will enter into service in 2011. To date, ATR has recorded orders for 59 of these aircraft (5 ATR 42-600 and 54 ATR 72-600). 


The ATR 72-600 presented today, which started its flight test campaign in July 2009, is fitted with new Pratt & Whitney 127M engines. These new engines provide 5% additional thermodynamic power at takeoff, thus improving performance on short runways, in hot weather and on high altitude. The incorporation of the “boost function” enables use of this additional power as needed, only when called for by the takeoff conditions. Consequently, maintenance costs and fuel consumption are minimized. In addition, these new engines allow the aircraft to increase the single engine altitude by 1000 feet (300 meters). With an aim to increasing the aircraft payload, the maximum takeoff weight for the ATR 72-600 can now attain 23.000 Kg. 

This first ATR 72-600 is also the first to be fitted with the new, latest generation avionics suite, specifically developed for the ‘-600’ series. These new avionics comprise the very latest computer systems for navigational aids, flight data recording, automatic piloting and communications, entailing a better flight interface. The new cockpit, which integrates 5 LCD screens, is also fitted with a new multi-purpose computer (MPC) enabling optimized integration of all systems and better and faster computing capability.  

This new MPC will also facilitate aircraft maintenance operations. The ATR 72-600 avionics integrate an autopilot which will be CAT IIIA certified. This will allow a minimum decision height for landing of 50 feet (15 meters), thus optimizing aircraft operational capabilities during landing under deteriorated weather conditions. Additionally, the new ATR ‘-600’ avionics improve the required navigation performance (RNP), facilitating more direct approaches to airports, especially to the most congested, offering an even greater reduction in fuel consumption. Finally, it enables simplification and increased reliability of the cockpit systems, significantly reducing their maintenance costs”. 


“We are very proud and very happy to present our first ATR 72-600 today. The new ‘-600’ series has been designed to improve the performance of our aircraft in terms of fuel consumption and engine power, maximum takeoff load and reduction of maintenance costs” declared Stéphane Mayer, Chief Executive Officer of ATR, during the presentation of the first ATR 72-600. “The improvements to our new ‘-600’ series are written into our continuous development philosophy in order to optimally respond to the needs of our customers, whether in terms of reliability, control of operation costs as well as passenger service and comfort”. 

The ‘-600’ series ATRs will also be fitted with a new cabin incorporating new lighter and more comfortable seats and larger overhead baggage bins. Targeted at providing passengers with optimized comfort the new cabin will also be equipped with LED lighting and in-flight entertainment systems (IFE). Stéphane Mayer added: 

“We are actively working on the development of this new cabin which will offer passengers even higher comfort than the one of our current “Elegance Cabin”. And to conclude: “We are convinced that the ATR ‘-600’ series, which also presents the lowest CO2 emissions per passenger, will become the reference in regional air transport, thus responding to the expectations of airlines in terms of competiveness and respect for the environment”.  

The ATR 72-600 and the ATR 42-600 will carry out respectively 150 and 75 flight hours respectively to test their new equipment before their certification. The common trunk between the ATR 72 and the ATR 42 will enable the ATR 42-600, which will commence its flight test campaign next year, to benefit from certain tests completed by the ATR 72-600. 

The constructor of regional aircraft ATR, based in Toulouse, is the world leader in the 50 to 74-seat turboprop market. ATR is an equal share partnership between Alenia Aeronautica (Finmeccanica Group) and EADS. In 2008, ATR recorded a record turnover of 1.3 billion dollars. ATR is ISO 14001 certified, the world standard in the environmental field.

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