ATR and the Danish leasing company Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) signed an agreement for the sale of 90 ATR -600s, including 35 firm orders for 30 ATR 72-600s and five of the smaller ATR 42-600s. Deliveries will start this fall, with deliveries averaging seven aircraft per year.

The firm order will increase NAC’s ATR portfolio to more than 150 aircraft by 2016. The ATR turboprops are one of the main pillars of the company’s fleet portfolio, and chairman Martin Møller says the aircraft is “not a product of the past--quite the contrary; it is a product of the future.” He says “Our experience as lessors confirms the strong demand for ATRs with regional airlines. Their very low operating costs and high reliability are the major drivers for ensuring profitability, both for airlines and for ourselves.” Demand for the ATR is particularly strong in Asia and South and Central America, he says.

The bulk of the new order is for ATR72-600s, yet Møller sees good demand in the market for the smaller ATR42-600 from specialty operators and airlines using short runways. Having said this, the NAC boss called for the launch of the 90-seat ATR. “As a lessor, I can’t wait to see the larger-capacity ATR launch. A lot of airlines are asking for it, and I encourage ATR to move in that direction.”

NAC is negotiating “other deals,” which will see its portfolio gradually grow to 300 aircraft, from about 200 now, says Møller. He expects to sign a new customer contract on Wednesday during the Paris Air Show.