ATR Tops Order Goal as Backlog Swells to $6.5 Billion

Avions de Transport Regional, the world’s largest maker of turboprop airliners, has already eclipsed its 2013 target for firm orders as purchases from lessors helped swell its backlog to a record $6.5 billion.

Orders and commitments total 173 this year, with a list value of $4.1 billion, Chief Executive Officer Filippo Bagnato told reporters today at the Paris Air Show. Those agreements include 83 firm purchases to exceed a goal of 80, he said.

Bookings were bolstered by sales to leasing companies at the expo, the industry’s largest trade event, that include 91 planes for Nordic Aviation Capital and five today to Air Lease Corp. Toulouse, France-based ATR is a joint venture between European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. and Finmeccanica SpA.

“It is a strong sign of the lessor interest,” Bagnato said. Lessors have increased purchases of regional planes sixfold in the past three years, with ATR securing 75 percent of the aircraft sold, Bagnato said.

With about 3 1/2 years of production in the backlog, ATR is boosting output from 80 planes this year to 90 in 2014 and possibly going beyond that pace in 2015, Bagnato said. Some production slots remain available, he said.

ATR, whose planes now range in size from 48 to 70 seats, continues to work on plans for a new 90-seat plane with a planned market entry for 2018 or 2019, Bagnato said. A business plan has been delivered to shareholders who are reviewing to determine whether to go ahead, he said.

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