July 6, 2022
ATR Plans Japanese Market Expansion
ATR Industry Manufacturers

ATR Plans Japanese Market Expansion

DALLAS – ATR has unveiled its plans to increase its presence in the Japanese market. This comes after the Franco-Italian plane maker announced that it anticipates significant demand from Japanese carriers for its regional aircraft in the next few years.

“We see 100 ATR aircraft flying in Japan in a few years,” ATR Chief Executive Stefano Bortoli said. “Air transport is crucial for the archipelago, where air routes are essential for domestic travel and transportation. We want to help ensure that aviation contributes to a prosperous future for Japan by connecting its regions ever more sustainably and affordably.”

Bortoli added, “Most of the new ATRs will replace older, less efficient models and will connect islands and remote regions with the country’s major cities.”

Hokkaido Air System currently has three ATR-42s in service. Photo: ATR Aircraft.

Market Entry

It has been six years since ATR entered the Japanese market. Today, 15 ATR aircraft are in service with three operators Amakusa Airlines (MZ), plus Japan Airlines (JL) subsidiaries Japan Air Commuter (JC) and Hokkaido Air System (6L).

In September 2021, 6L took delivery of its first ATR-42-600. The first leg of the ferry flight was operated using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). This coincided with the launch of the type’s new Pratt & Whitney PW127XT engine, which will become standard on all new ATRs later this year. The power plant will also be able to use 100% SAF.

Nagasaki-based Oriental Air Bridge (OC) is due to take delivery of its first ATR-42 later this year. Meanwhile, a new Japanese regional carrier, Toki Air, has chosen the turboprop to start its operations.

The -42S was launched in October 2019 and will enter service with launch customer Air Tahiti (VT). Photo: ATR Aircraft.

STOL Variant

Toki Air also plans on introducing the STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) variant known as the ATR-42S. This model operated its maiden flight on May 11.

ATRs Senior Vice President Commercial Fabrice Vautier said, “With the Short Take-Off and Landing version of our aircraft, we will contribute to serving even smaller airports across the Japanese archipelago: there are ten airports in Japan with short airstrips that provide vital links for those communities.”

Featured image: Japan Air Commuter first ordered the ATR-42 in June 2015. Photo: ATR Aircraft.

Writer, aviation fanatic, plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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