Key Points:

  • ATR seeks to increase its in-country fleet to 25-30 ATR 72 aircraft in Korea over the next seven years, eyeing underutilized domestic routes.

  • The company's ATR 72-600 aircraft boasts significant fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, making them attractive for regional carriers.

  • ATR identifies potential in opening new passenger routes between Korea and neighboring regions such as Northeast China and Southern Japan.

ATR Aims to Develop New Routes Linking Korea, China, and Japan

TOULOUSE —Leading regional aircraft manufacturer ATR unveiled plans to significantly bolster its presence in Korea’s domestic and short-haul international transportation sector. Within a seven-year horizon, the firm anticipates an in-country fleet of 25-30 ATR 72 aircraft, recognized for their efficiency.

The announcement took place during a media briefing at the maiden Gyeongbuk Aerospace, Defence and Logistics Exhibition (GADLEX) hosted in Gumi city from 6th to 8th September.

Expressing enthusiasm, Jean-Pierre Clercin, ATR’s Head of Commercial for Asia Pacific, lauded the proactive stance of the Gyeongsangbuk-do provincial government. “With numerous underutilized airports and a predominant north-south flight trajectory, Korea offers the potential to craft east-west connections. The ATR platform aligns seamlessly with the needs of such routes, in terms of passenger volume, terrain, and distance," stated Clercin. He further highlighted the ATR 72 aircraft's ability to operate from a 1,200m runway, like the one in development on Ulleungdo Island, making them ideal for responsible and affordable travel.

ATR 72-600 turboprops stand out for their eco-friendliness, consuming 45% less fuel and producing 45% reduced CO2 emissions. Their noise footprint is also threefold quieter than comparative regional aircraft.

Drawing attention to the commercial viability of ATR aircraft, Clercin commented, "We've witnessed regional jets with steeper operating costs, attributed mainly to escalated fuel consumption and maintenance. Some operators have swapped their jets for ATR 72s, attracted by the 45% fuel savings on sub-300NM routes. Such efficiency undoubtedly enhances profitability in the volatile aviation sector."

Furthermore, ATR envisions potential growth by inaugurating new short-haul passenger flights linking Korea with regions like Northeast China and Southern Japan, complemented by dedicated cargo services.