Delivering turboprops is no simple feat feat. These regional aircraft can usually fly under 1,000 nautical miles, making long-yet-necessary journeys somewhat complicated. However, airlines and manufacturers have found ways to make even the longest journeys possible. Here’s a look at the route taken by an ATR 72 during its delivery flight from Toulouse, France, to New Delhi, India, this week.
This week, two ATR 72s made their way from their manufacturing site in southern France to the capital of India. Both aircraft were destined for low-cost giant IndiGo, which currently has an order for 50 ATRs. With the successful delivery of both turboprops, the carrier now has 27 ATRs in its fleet as it grows regional operations.
A direct flight from Toulouse to New Delhi spans 3,663 nautical miles, far above the ATR72-600s range of 758 nautical miles. To meet this challenge, the flight made three stops across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East before reaching Delhi. This allowed crew rest, refueling, and checks on this mammoth two-day journey.
The four-leg journey
Data from FlightAware shows that the plane departed Toulouse at 11:10 AM local time for its first leg. After four hours and 45 minutes, the ATR touched down in Heraklion, Greece, for an overnight stop. This first flight spanned 1,207 nautical miles, the longest of any flight in this journey (more on how the ATR did this later on).
It departed Heraklion the next morning at 09:46 AM local time, bound for Egypt. This flight was much shorter at two hours and 40 minutes and landed in Sharm El Sheikh airport at 11:20 AM local time. This leg was only 645 nautical miles long, and the plane stopped for just an hour, presumably to refuel.
After a brief pitstop, the ATR took off bound for Dubai World Central Airport at 12:15 PM local time. This leg took four hours and 50 minutes, spanning 1,133 nautical miles in total. After arriving at 19:10, the plane made another overnight stop for crew rests and refueling.
The next morning at 11:08 AM, the ATR72 took off for the last time on this long journey. The flight from Dubai World Central to New Delhi took five hours and 25 minutes and flew 1,197 nautical miles in total. Finally, at 18:03 local time, the plane was delivered to IndiGo and completed its delivery flight.
Overall, the flight took just over 53 hours, leaving on the morning of 23rd June and arriving on the evening of June 25th. The aircraft in question was a 1.7-year-old IndiGo ATR 72-600, registered VT-IXV.
Extending the range
As we’ve discussed in detail before, delivery flights for turboprops are all about maximizing range. To do this, the plane is flown empty, possibly without seats too, to boost the range as much as possible. If all changes are made, an ATR’s range could be boosted to as much as 2,000 nautical miles for delivery. However, all of this requires hours of planning and precision.
While the journey from Toulouse to Delhi doesn’t include a transoceanic flight, planning is key to ensuring the plane has enough fuel for each leg. On longer flights, the stakes are even higher, with pilots planning for the worst too. For now, both planes have landed safely in Delhi and will likely enter passenger service soon!
What do you think about the delivery route of IndiGo’s ATRs? Let us know in the comments!