Regional turboprop airliner manufacturer ATR on Monday released its 20-year (2018 to 2037) forecast for global demand for turboprop airliners. It estimated the market at 3 020 aircraft, worth more than $80-billion.
“The key driver for this positive outlook is traffic growth in regional connectivity,” stated the company. “This comes from both traditional markets where less connected locations are being connected with direct new regional routes, as well as from emerging markets where the most viable solution for connecting people and transporting goods is turboprop air links.”
Turboprops today operate in the up-to-90 seat regional airliner segment of the industry. ATR’s survey excluded small turboprops in the up-to-40 seat market segment, in which the company does not compete. It divided the the 40 to 90 seat segment into two markets: the 40 to 60 seat market and the 61 to 80 seat market.
The company expected almost 80% of demand over the next 20 years (amounting to 2 390 airliners) to be in the 61 to 80 seat market. The remaining 20% (630 aircraft) would be in the 40 to 60 seat market.
The biggest market for these airliners would be Asia, which would account for 43%. In second place would be Europe, Africa and the Middle East, with 31%, followed by the Americas, with 26%.
But increased demand for air cargo on regional routes would stimulate interest in turboprop freighter aircraft, whether converted from airliners or specifically built as freighters. (ATR pointed out that its recently launched ATR 72-600F was the only regional freighter aircraft that could be bought straight from the factory.) The company estimated the future turboprop freighter market (whether converted or newly built) at up to 460 aircraft.
ATR is a joint venture between Airbus and Italian aerospace, defence and security group Leonardo (previously Finmeccanica), with its head office in Toulouse, France. It has two main models in its range – the ATR 42 and the ATR 72. Both, in turn, currently come in two versions, the ATR 42-500, the ATR 42-600, the ATR 72-500 and the ATR 72-600 (plus the freighter version of the latter).
The ATR 42 serves the 40 to 60 seat market segment and is the only 50 seat airliner currently in production. The ATR 72 serves the 61 to 90 seat segment. More than 1 100 of these aircraft are operated by more than 200 airlines in almost 100 countries.