ƒата: 25-01-18 10:29
ATR has time to decide about future aircraft: chief
ATR chief executive Christian Scherer sees Уno urgencyФ to decide about the turboprop familyТs future development, despite EmbraerТs evaluations about a potential return to the turboprop segment.
Speaking at a results briefing in Toulouse on 21 January, Scherer said: УWe will do a new airplane programme. But I canТt tell you what it is yet.Ф
He says ATR and its shareholders Ц Airbus and Italian aerospace group Leonardo Ц have begun a strategic planning process about the turboprop familyТs future development.
Leonardo has repeatedly expressed its interest in expanding the ATR 42/72-family with a new, larger aircraft with at least 90 seats, and suggested in 2017 that it could pursue such a project alone or with other partners.
However, Scherer says the ongoing future studies are Уvery focusedФ on the existing joint-venture. Airbus and Leonardo view ATR as a Уvaluable brandФ and as the Уright vehicle to develop their regional aircraft programmesФ, he says.
Scherer asserts that it is not yet clear whether the partners will develop a larger turboprop Ц as a potential evolution from the current ATR 42/72 family Ц or introduce more radical technologies for a next-generation aircraft. This could potentially involve hybrid-electric propulsion systems, new materials and construction techniques, and cockpit configurations with just one or no pilot at all, Scherer says.
He notes that Airbus is interested in potentially employing Уrupture technologiesФ on a future ATR type, because it would provide an opportunity to trial technical advances with a lower industrial risk than on the groupТs mainline aircraft production.
Pratt & Whitney Canada has previously disclosed that it is developing a new-generation engine that could power a turboprop aircraft with at least 90 seats, and that the engineТs service entry is targeted between 2023 and 2025. P&WC is ATRТs sole engine provider today.
Scherer acknowledges that development of a new aircraft would typically take about five years. But he says ATRТs future programme schedule will not be determined by external suppliers, and notes that the airframer is in contact with GE Aviation, Rolls-Royce and electric power specialist Siemens about their development efforts.
In 2017, Embraer indicated that it was exploring the possibility of returning to the turboprop market with a new aircraft. In September the Brazilian airframer held an initial customer advisory panel with more than 20 international operators to hear their views on the turboprop segment.
Noting EmbraerТs E-Jet E2 development effort Ц the first model, the E190-E2, is scheduled to enter service in April Ц Scherer shows confidence that ATR will not be pushed by the competitor into a new aircraft programme. УIf I was an Embraer shareholderЕ I would be very, very nervous to go and stick my neck out and launch a regional turboprop programme before I know what the leader in the field, namelyЕ ATR, is going to do,Ф he says.
That assessment has not been changed by talks between Boeing and Embraer about a potential tie-up of their activities Ц which were disclosed by the two manufacturers in late 2017 Ц Scherer says. He insists: УThere is no pending urgency for us to Сquick, quick, quickТ go into something. We can take our time.Ф
»сточник информации: Flight Global
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