ATR Gains New Interest For The ATR 42-600S & ATR 72-600

On Tuesday, Franco-Italian regional turboprop manufacturer ATR announced that it had received a new order for its ATR 72-600 aircraft and signed a letter of intent for its new short take-off and landing version of the ATR 42-600, the 42-600S. Central African carrier Afrijet has ordered three of the larger aircraft to replace its ATR 72-500s, and Japanese startup Toki Air is looking to take the smaller STOL plane.

ATR 72-600
ATR has received three new orders for the ATR 72-600. Photo: ATR

ATR’s new chapter

Turboprop orders may not be announced with all the fanfare reserved for the signing of new narrow- and widebody jet planes. However, these nimble aircraft are incredibly important for regional air traffic around the world. And, of course, to the companies that make them. Toulouse-based ATR has customers in 100 countries worldwide and has sold over 1,700 aircraft during its 40-year long history.

During the Dubai Air Show currently taking place in the United Arab Emirates, ATR announced that it had finalized the sale of three ATR 72-600s to Central African airline Afrijet. Furthermore, the planemaker said Tuesday it had signed a letter of intent with Toki Air. This new regional Japanese airline will operate out of Niigata Airport on the west coast of Honshu.

ATR72-600 Afrijet rendering
Central African carrier Afrijet has purchased three ATR72-600 aircraft. Photo: ATR

Afrijet’s fleet renewal

Afrijet, with bases in Libreville and Port Gentil in Gabon, is already an ATR operator. The airline will use the new aircraft to replace part of its existing ATR 72-500 fleet, consisting of three planes. Afrijet CEO, Mark Gaffajoli, remarked,

“We need these new ATR aircraft, as creating connectivity in the Gulf of Guinea is vital for the boom in trade and community integration in the CEMAC zone. As an operator in Equatorial Africa, home of the second-largest forest in the world, we are proud to be preparing to invest in a device with a low carbon footprint and a controlled and predictable ecological impact.”

New STOL version great fit for Toki Air

Meanwhile, Japanese regional startup airline Toki Air is aiming to commence service in 2022. In addition to Niigata Airport, Toki will also operate to and from Sado Airport on the island of Sado, just off the coast of the Chūbu region of Japan. Its runway is only 890 meters long, which means that the ATR42-600S would be a great fit.


ATR Gains New Interest For The ATR 42-600S & ATR 72-600
The short take-off and landing capabilities of the ATR 42-600S will suit Toki Air’s offshore ambitions. Photo: ATR

The ATR 42-600S is a new version of the ATR 42-600 currently under development. It will offer take-off and landing capabilities on runways as short as 800 meters with 40 passengers on board. ATR has scheduled the first deliveries of the new variant for 2025. Toki Air has already signed a lease agreement for two ATR 72-600 aircraft to enter service early next year.

“The ATR 42-600S version is a vital tool to expand the horizons of many remote communities around the world, and it is particularly true in Japan. Air routes constitute an essential part of the archipelago’s domestic travel and transportation, and we know how difficult it is to ensure these links in a sustainable way. With the ATR 42-600S, we strongly believe we can offer the right solution to Japan’s requirements, now and in the future,” said Stefano Bortoli, CEO of ATR, in a statement issued on Tuesday.