The first of a new generation of Turboprop freighters took to the sky yesterday (16th September), with ATR Aircraft completing the first test flight of the ATR 72-600F
It marks the first successful first flight of its new purpose-built regional freighter aircraft.
The flight took off at 14:00 from its Saint-Martin site and lasted two hours. During the flight, crew onboard performed a number of tests to measure the new aircraft’s flight envelope and flight performance.
The first delivery of this aircraft will be to FedEx Express, the world’s largest cargo airline and express transportation company, who placed a firm order for 30 aircraft, plus 20 options, in November 2017.
What does the ATR72-600F offer?
Unlike previous ATR aircraft that have been used, this has been built factory fresh – dedicated as a freighter.
This includes offering a Large Cargo Door included as part of the original design and the same wide cross-section as all ATR aircraft.
The freighter will be able to accommodate bulk cargo and industry-standard pallets and containers.
The aircraft will also provide operators with the very latest avionics suite, which can be continuously upgraded. ATR states that it effectively futureproofs the -600F’s state-of-the-art cockpit by allowing cargo airlines to take benefit from future innovations, which will further enhance the aircraft’s efficiency.
Extending the reach of ATR
ATR’s strength has been helping to build the feeder networks that allow airlines and operators to deliver cargo and passengers to destinations where a jet aircraft would be uneconomic to send.
And there is a market to be had – with ATR currently taking around a third of the regional freighter marker.
There is room to grow at the moment – especially since freighter traffic is one place where there is growth currently.
It’ll be up to ATR to strike whilst the iron is hot to build up orders for this new type.
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