Wow: The ATR 42 Can Now Land On Runways Just 800m Long

ATR has announced upgrades to the ATR 42 which will enable it to land on runways just 800 meters long. The new short take-off and landing (STOL) variant of the ATR 42-600, which will make its way to airlines in the second half of 2022, will feature a number of physical modifications.

An ATR 42
ATR has announced it will be releasing a new STOL version of its ATR 42. Photo: Phillip Capper via Flickr

ATR’s Board of Directors approved the development of a new short take-off and landing variant of the ATR 42-600 today. The new model, which will be named the ATR 42-600S, was presented at this year’s Paris Air Show, and has already received interest from airlines.

ATR says the new model will be able to land on runways as short as 800 meters, with as many as 42 passengers aboard the aircraft. The manufacturer says this will make it the best performing aircraft in its segment.

According to reports by Flight Global, the new ATR 42-600S will feature a number of significant physical modifications and new features. These modifications will include a larger rudder, which will give pilots greater control over the aircraft at low speeds, and the ability to symmetrically deploy spoilers during landing.

It will also feature a new auto brake system to ensure full braking power is applied as soon as the aircraft touches down.

Demand for the ATR 42-600S

So far ATR says it has received 20 commitments to buy the ATR 42-600S, from customers including Elix Aviation and Air Tahiti.

ATR sees significant demand for a short take-off and landing variant of the ATR 42-600. Specifically, the manufacturer says the new ATR 42-600S will increase its addressable market by 25% – a figure which is well worth the investment for the upgrades to the standard version of the aircraft.

According to ATR, there are some 500 airports around the world which have runways between 800 and 1,000 meters in length.

An ATR 42
The ATR 42-600S will be able to land on runways as short as 800 meters. Photo: Laurent ERRERA via Flickr

While it is dangerous for the standard ATR 42-600 and other comparable aircraft to land on these runways, the new ATR 42-600S will open up new routes for many airlines. In particular, the ATR 42-600S will help airlines hoping to serve more remote destinations in less-developed parts of the world.

It will also allow airlines to swap out older, smaller turboprop aircraft for a larger, more modern alternative.

More about ATR

ATR is a popular aircraft manufacturer which operates within a small niche of the wider aircraft manufacturing industry.

The company has only been producing aircraft since 1981, when it was established as a joint Franco-Italian venture between Aérospatiale and Aeritalia (now Airbus and Leonardo).

An ATR 72
The ATR 72 is the larger of ATR’s two aircraft. Photo: Nicolasrnphoto via Wikimedia Commons

ATR has only ever produced two different aircraft; the ATR 42 and its larger brother the ATR 72. Nevertheless, these two types have proven successful. ATR sold its 1,500th unit in October last year – an ATR 72-600 to Japan Air Commuter, a domestic Japanese carrier with a number of ATR aircraft in its small fleet.

The announcement of the new ATR 42-600S shows that, despite its size, the manufacturer is still looking to solve problems that face many airlines around the world.