ATR Turboprop Dominance Presents Aftermarket Opportunities

While Embraer is eyeing up a direct competitor to ATR in the turboprop market, the ubiquity of ATR equipment will continue to present opportunities for the aftermarket.
Credit: Magnetic MRO

Over the past 20 years ATR has carved a dominant position in the turboprop market, while sales of its competitor, the Q400, dwindled to such an extent that Bombardier sold the aircraft line last year.

Indeed, so dominant have the ATR42 and ATR72 become that Embraer Commercial Aviation chief executive John Slattery recently described the manufacturer as having a “de facto” monopoly in the space.

As evidence, he pointed to ATR’s margins being the highest of any aircraft manufacturer.

In response, he wants Embraer to develop a competitor turboprop, but told a conference in Dublin that it would only do so once the sale of Embraer’s commercial activities to Boeing was completed.

The deal now awaits approval by European competition regulators, which Slattery hopes will come by the middle of this year.

In the meantime – and until a true competitor emerges – the ubiquity of ATR equipment will continue to present opportunities for the aftermarket.

This week German MRO provider Rheinland Air Service (RAS) acquired a 17-year-old ATR42 for part-out from lessor Elix Aviation Capital.

It was at least the fifth ATR that the turboprop-focused maintenance provider has acquired over the past two years – evidence of healthy demand for parts among its customers as well as RAS’ appetite for growth.

In 2018 it acquired fellow German company Contact Air Technik at that company’s two-hangar heavy maintenance lines for ATR42/72 and Bombardier Q400 aircraft at Saarbruecken Airport.

RAS offers similar services from its base at Düsseldorf-Mönchengladbach Airport.

The company has also benefited from the demise in recent years of other turboprop MRO facilities in Europe, notably Toulouse-based ASI Maintenance Innsbruck-based Tyrolean Technik. 

Alex Derber

Alex Derber is a UK-based aviation journalist and editor of the Engine Yearbook. He contributes regular features, news and opinion pieces about the…