According to the latest ATR Market Forecast, published in July, demand for new turboprops is expected to reach 750 units over the next 20 years. This would be partly fuelled by about 600 new routes to be created in the region (excluding China). In addition, ATR estimates that regional traffic demand in emerging countries should grow eight times faster than in more mature economies.
Regional connectivity enables communities to develop business and tourism and is the key to sustainable economic and social development in the Asia-Pacific region. Local carriers will develop these secondary markets using regional aircraft to satisfy the increasing need for connectivity within the region. Today, an airline can produce a 15% yield benefit by offering direct services between secondary cities, while providing affordable transportation by using the right sized aircraft, like ATR.
Both ATR models will benefit from this growth. Out of the 750 estimated aircraft, 630 would be ATR 72, the most efficient aircraft for regional routes, while the demand for ATR 42, accommodating up to 50 passengers, could reach 120 units. Operators in the Asia-Pacific region will have the right tool to align their capacity with demand. Route creation will represent 27% of aircraft needs forecast for the period. In parallel, operators can also increase capacity thanks to the new High Capacity version of the ATR 72. This 78-seater version is well suited to areas with increasing demand, stretching the offer to adapt to traffic development. ATR delivered its first High Capacity aircraft to Cebu Pacific Air in September 2016.
"The regional market is often considered as a lower-end niche. Yet, the economic development that our connections stimulate can also generate much larger opportunities. Especially since ATR aircraft are very efficient in a variety of airline business models in the region, including low-cost, full service, point-to-point and access to remote communities," explained John Moore at a media briefing in the Philippines on the occasion of the entry into service of the very first ATR 72-600 High Capacity on October 15, 2016.
With 377 ATRs in operation (for 60 airlines), some 200 routes created since 2010, the Asia-Pacific region has the largest ATR fleet in operation. ATRs remain the best-selling regional aircraft in the region: representing over 90% of regional aircraft sales in high-demand South-East Asian countries since 2010. With an average flight length of 203 nm, the regional market in South-East Asia is perfectly suited to turboprops, which account for 79% of the fleet. Their economic performance, comfort, environmentally-friendly design and operational flexibility mean that ATRs are in an ideal position to remain the preferred choice for Asian regional airlines over the next two decades.