FARNBOROUGH – Newly created lessor Abelo and leading producer of regional aircraft ATR announced today at FIA2022 that they had signed Heads of Agreement for 10 brand-new ATR 72-600s.
The new leasing firm is to also ratify Elix Aviation’s 2019 agreement to purchase 10 ATR 42-600S (the STOL variant) aircraft. The ATR 72-600 will begin to be delivered in 2023, and the first STOL version will follow at the conclusion of 2024. Abelo formed as a result of the merger between Elix Aviation and ADARE Aviation Capital. It is a full-service regional aircraft leasing platform founded in 2022. Abelo is based in Dublin, Ireland.
Additionally, ATR and a regional Japanese airline, ORC (Oriental Air Bridge), today announced the signing of an order for an ATR 42-600 to support the airline’s domestic operations and provide dependable essential connectivity in the southern Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Fukuoka. Through the Global Maintenance Agreement (GMA), which lowers operators’ maintenance costs and improves operations, ORC will also profit from ATR’s optimized support.
Finally, Feel Air Holdings and ATR inked a Letter of Intent (LoI) for the purchase of up to 36 aircraft of both ATR turboprop models. To revitalize Japan’s regions, a new regional airline holding company was established. Feel Air has chosen ATR aircraft for their excellent performance as a route opener. The airline intends to establish new regional connections throughout the Japanese archipelago, which has close to 100 airports in operation.
There are currently 15 ATR aircraft flying across Japan. ATR foresees a potential for 100 ATR aircraft operating in Japan in the medium term. Furthermore, over the next 20 years, there will be a significant global demand for turboprops, according to a new market projection from ATR released today at FIA2022.
Comments from Abelo, ORC, Feel Air Holdings, ATR
Steve Gorman, Chief Executive Officer of Abelo, said, “We firmly believe that turboprops are the technology of today and tomorrow and this is why we are investing in the ATR platform. This new deal is further proof of our commitment to creating growth and value for regional operators, providing them with the most modern, profitable, and sustainable aircraft on the market. As we are looking to expand and become the go-to lessor of turboprops, our strong links with ATR will prove invaluable.”
Kazuhito Tanaka, ORC Senior Managing Director, and Representative Director said, “We will start renewing our fleet with the most efficient, affordable, and responsible aircraft in the market. With our ATR 42-600, we are investing in a responsible future in line with our strong commitment to operate in an eco-friendly and sustainable way. Our ATR aircraft will allow us to revitalize remote islands around Nagasaki Prefecture by providing lifeline connections with high efficiency and reliable services thanks to our ATR Global Maintenance Agreement.”
Mr. Taiichi Kojima, President of Feel Air Holdings, said, “Feel Air Holdings aims to bring a new dynamic to Japanese regional air travel, making it more versatile, more meaningful, and more accessible to all. Thanks to their reduced CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency, ATR aircraft can help us to do this in a sustainable manner, allowing us to contribute actively to local communities while also protecting Japan’s many beautiful natural landscapes.”
Stefano Bortoli, ATR Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Abelo is a perfect partner for ATR and a force to be reckoned with in the regional aviation market. With today’s order for 20 aircraft, they demonstrate their long-term confidence in our product family and shine a light on the many opportunities that exist for operators across the globe. The financial community and leasing companies, in particular, have been unswerving supporters of AT throughout the years and will keep playing a key role.”
Bortoli also commented that air routes constitute an essential part of the archipelago’s domestic travel and transportation and as such taking a brand new aircraft with optimized support from the manufacturer is a perfect choice. “Our aircraft have demonstrated that they are the right solution to Japan’s requirements, now and in the future. We are pleased to count ORC as one of our new customers and to be able to support them with a common purpose: to provide reliable and sustainable essential connections for communities and businesses from remote places.”
Bortoli ended with remarks about the Feel Air deal, saying, “Air transport is crucial for Japan’s islands and regions, and the establishment of Feel Air will help connect Japan’s regions affordably and sustainably.”
Future Turboprop Aircraft Demand
In order to meet the rising demand for regional connections and lower emission air travel, ATR, the world’s top maker of regional aircraft, estimates that at least 2.450 turboprop aircraft would be needed during the next 20 years. The first worldwide market prediction from ATR since 2018 was announced today at the Farnborough Airshow.
The forecast, which spans the years 2022 to 2041, projects a robust commercial recovery following two years of difficult conditions for the aviation sector.
Today, over 40% of the regional passenger fleet is made up of turboprops. According to the prediction, the number of passenger turboprop aircraft with at least 30 seats would expand from 1950 in 2022 to 2660 in 2041, an increase of around 36%. Asia Pacific, China, and Latin America have experienced the largest increases.
The paper also notes the expanding significance of aviation cargo. Due to the growth of the digital economy and e-commerce, freighters now play a crucial function in assisting local communities.
ATR Freighter Demand to Increase
The prediction emphasizes that there is a significant opportunity for the business given that turboprops make up 94% of the regional freighter fleet. It is expected that the number of turboprop freighters operating worldwide will increase by 45% from 380 in 2021 to 550 in 2041. As customer demands for speedier delivery spread beyond the major primary gateways in each region, South East Asia, China, and Latin America have been recognized as regions with increased regional demand.
Future demand for turboprops will also be influenced by their capacity to adapt to the altered regulatory landscape brought on by the climate issue, according to the ATR market prediction. The aviation industry is naturally favoring low-carbon emitting aircraft like turboprops due to rising fuel prices, increasing carbon taxes, and rising passenger demand for lower emission travel.
Featured image: ATR 72-600. Photo: ATR