ATR shows how aviation can both be sustainable and good for communities

ATR’s entire customer base will soon be able to fly its fleet of regional turboprops with 100% SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) at no extra cost – except of course for the fuel itself.

This was a commitment made by ATR CEO Stefano Bortoli when speaking at the Farnborough International Air Show this afternoon in a presentation full of sustainability messaging.

ATR recently completed the first ever commercial flight ever where both engines of an aircraft had 100% SAF. Bortoli emphasised that the aircraft used had been flying with normal jet fuel the day before and that the pilots on board deemed the flight to be ‘uneventful’ – exactly as it should be.

Right now ATR’s turboprops are certified to carry 50% SAF, and the goal is for “the same aircraft, with no changes, to be able to fly 100% by 2025.”

Overall the ATR presentation was impressive in the way that it tied together sustainability targets alongside messaging emphasising the importance aviation (in this case regional aviation) has in society as a whole.

As we said in the current issue of AMM Magazine (free download here), the industry needs to run ‘aviation is a force for good’ and ‘here is what we are doing to reach net zero’ messaging in tandem, given that climate change activists are increasingly using the narrative that air travel involves a global elite burning greenhouse gases at the expense of the majority.

And so ATR presented figures emphasising the positive impact regional aviation has on local societies and economies.

ATR says that a 10% increase in regional flights into an area leads to a 5% increase in tourism, a 6% increase in local GDP and an 8% increase in foreign direct investment. 

ATR has been using similar messaging for a while. In early 2020, we highlighted ATR’s “into life” campaign and micro-site / blog.

One of the stories on the site featured Siargao, a remote island in the Philippines, where the economy and living standards were improved thanks to a regular service with ATR aircraft (from Cebu Pacific).

In fact, Stefano Bortoli emphasised the fact that 34% of airports worldwide rely exclusively on turboprops.

Meanwhile, Fabrice Vautier (SVP Commercial) showed a slide claiming that a switch from regional jets to turboprops would save the equivalent of a forest the size of the Balearic Islands – even without SAF.

Next in the sustainability pipeline is the ATR EVO (see top image). ATR plans for this aircraft to have advanced design features and a new powerplant with hybrid capability.

ATR says it will incorporate a new eco-design that includes new propellers and enhanced cabin and systems, it will remain a two-engine turboprop that can be powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

Accordiong to Stefano Bortoli, “This will be another step towards flying more responsibly, it will be paving the way for a decarbonised future for regional aviation.”

A decision on whether put this next generation aircraft into production will be made next year, after feasibility studies have been completed.

The ATR press conference finished with an announcement that leasing company Abelo had agreed to buy 10 x ATR72-600 and 10 ATR 42-600 aircraft.

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