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Business News/ Industry / France’s ATR to resume pre-covid aircraft deliveries only by 2027-2028
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France’s ATR to resume pre-covid aircraft deliveries only by 2027-2028

The planemaker says its aircraft deliveries will return to pre-covid levels in about three years while the fog over global supply chain issues gradually eases

Indigo has so far received deliveries of 45 out of 50 ATR aircraft it ordered in 2017. The remaining are expected to be inducted this year. (ATR) Premium
Indigo has so far received deliveries of 45 out of 50 ATR aircraft it ordered in 2017. The remaining are expected to be inducted this year. (ATR)

NEW DELHI : Global supply chain challenges that have weighed down Indian airlines the past few years are unlikely to go away anytime soon, going by French aircraft manufacturer ATR’s projections.

The company expects its aircraft deliveries to return to pre-covid levels only by 2027-2028, with a gradual easing of supply chain constraints in the aviation ecosystem.

In 2023, ATR delivered 36 aircraft, down from 68 in the pre-covid year of 2019.

“This year, (we are) aiming at 40-ish," Jean Pierre, ATR’s head of commercial for Asia-Pacific, told Mint.

“A supply chain is not something that you switch on, switch off. It’s about being mindful and getting that back in line responsibly for our suppliers… it’s a fine balance," he said.

The French company manufactures turboprop-powered regional jets, including the ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft that can seat 48-78 passengers. In India, about 100 regional aircraft are registered with scheduled Indian airlines, as per data from flight tracking website flightradar24, and ATR occupies nearly a 70% share of this market.

Supply chain disruptions have hurt the aviation sector globally. In India, Go First filed for bankruptcy after Pratt & Whitney could not maintain a steady supply of engines to the airline, leading to the grounding of several of its aircraft.

“We don’t want to strain the supply chain. We have seen what happens when you do that in some of the programmes. We want to be very careful," said Pierre. “We want to be somewhere between 60-80 (aircraft per year) in the long run."

Pierre added that ATR is open to collaborations in India as it sees the country as the world’s top aviation market. ATR, which was founded in 1981 as a joint venture between Aérospatiale of France (now Airbus) and Aeritalia (now Leonardo) of Italy, has been present in India for about two decades. 

“The (Indian) market is so big that yes, we need to be open and look at every opportunity. It would be foolish for us to not look at it," said Pierre. “We would be interested in support aspects… spares."

ATR currently has spareparts warehouses in Paris, Auckland, Miami and Singapore, and customer service centres in Miami, Toulouse, Singapore and Bengaluru.

“I am talking to everybody (Indian airlines) seriously. The market has such huge requirements for regional connectivity that we see a lot of action coming up," Pierre said.

ATR aircraft have been particularly used in India across the so-called ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik’, or Udan, routes—the government’s regional airport development programme—as these planes are designed for use in shorter runways.

India’s largest airline IndiGo became an ATR customer in 2017 with an order for 50 aircraft, each with seating for 78 passengers. It has so far received deliveries of 45 ATR aircraft, and the remaining are expected to be inducted this year. 

IndiGo serves eight sectors per ATR aircraft. Some of these routes include Delhi-Dharamsala, Chennai-Mangalore, Ranchi-Kolkata, and Hubli-Bengaluru.

State-run Alliance Air has a fleet of 20 ATR aircraft, and the newly launched fly91 airline recently secured two ATR-72 aircraft on lease.

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Published: 21 Feb 2024, 06:14 PM IST
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