ATR, turboprop, India, IndiGo, Airbus, pilot shortage, growth market
Photo: ATR

ATR faces slump in deliveries

Turboprop manufacturer ATR is facing a drop in deliveries resulting from a pilot shortage and other factors.

The turboprop maker ATR, owned jointly by Airbus and Italy’s Leonardo, has delivered only a handful of aircraft in 2019 due to industrial delays, unsold aircraft and pilot shortages, but says it foresees a recovery in the second half of the year.

Toulouse-based ATR declined to give a figure for mid-year deliveries to the news agency Reuters but said it was confident of achieving its target of matching last year’s total handover of 76 aircraft.

“Our market is a very volatile one and we are used to managing that well,” a company spokesperson said.

Unsold and undelivered
Nevertheless, in India, an important market for industry growth, ATR is struggling to deliver aircraft as quickly as it had hoped, partly due to problems finding enough pilots for leading customer IndiGo.

In 2017, the manufacturer contracted with the budget carrier for the purchase of 50 aircraft worth more than approximately $1.3 billion. Under the deal, ATR agreed to recruit some pilots and instructors for IndiGo, according to sources cited by Reuters.

In India, trained captains are particularly scarce and this resultant issue with final delivery is the latest indication of the cost of a global pilot shortage as air travel outpaces the economy.

ATR, for example, is predicting annual average growth of nearly 11% in 50 to 70-seat turboprop traffic in South Asia.

In addition to the pilot shortage, the news agency also reports that the manufacturer is experiencing its own problems with quality issues in the delivery of fuselages from Italy and holding a number of unsold aircraft already built.

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