Air Transport World

ATR 42 will fly ahead of schedule. (new jet transport)

There's a new star in the world's commuter/regional airline sky. It's Aerospatiale and Aeritalia's new generation 46-passenger ATR 42 twin-turboprop, and its on the ramp preparing for the first flight this month.

Since initial cooperative explorations and potential partnership discussions began in 1980, with the go-ahead commitment made in October 1981, more than 400 engineers and high-tech personnel of both companies have met every major design-development goal of the $250-million project.

Confirmation of these goals will now come in the testing. The first flight of number one prototype initiates more than 1,000 hours of rigorous proving by three test units. Certification by JAR (the joint airworthiness regulatory authority of 10 European countries) and the U.S. is expected a year from now. Delivery of the first production aircraft to Air Littoral, one of 14 airline customers, is expected in late 1985.

Although the ATR 42's flight test schedule is too crowded to allow time for on-the-ground display or a fly-by appearance at Farnborough's air show next month, its competitive presence will be much in evidence as commuter/regional airline officials, along with thousands of aerospace executives from all parts of the globe, update themselves on all new equipment being offered in the marketplace. Air traffic to Toulouse for hands-on inspection of the hardware is expected to be brisk.

Armed with a living, breathing airplane Alain Brodin, VP-marketing-North America, says, "We can now fire all sales ammo to counter the competition's propaganda. . . . Farnborough is a timely stage for us to accent the fact that the ATR 42 is the best buy of any airplane in its class."

Like the BAe 146, de Havilland Dash 8, Saab-Fairchild 340, CASA-Nurtanio 235, the ATR 42 is considered by operators to be an advanced, new generation transport for the commuter/regional industry. …

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