Turboprop maker ATR to choose upgraded engines -sources By Reuters

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© Reuters. The logos of Airbus and the aircraft manufacturer ATR can be seen on a building in Saint-Martin-du-Touch near Toulouse, France, March 20, 2019. REUTERS / Regis Duvignau

DUBAI (Reuters) – Franco-Italian ATR is poised to announce an upgrade to its family of turboprop aircraft as competition intensifies in the regional propeller aircraft market.

The joint subsidiary of Airbus and Leonardo celebrates its 40th birthday at the Dubai Airshow, which opened on Sunday, as the aerospace industry tries to secure momentum for a fragile recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

Industry circles said ATR will announce a new variant of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW127 engines that will power the 42-600 and 72-600 Series turboprop aircraft.

ATR dominates the turboprops market, which is estimated to be around $ 80 billion over 20 years. The planes are considered to be more efficient on short-haul routes, especially when oil prices are high.

However, ATR faces potential challengers, including Brazilian Embraer, which is weighing plans to launch an entirely new and larger turboprop as early as next year. Further projects are taking shape in China and Germany.

The upgraded PW127 engine would cut costs by staying in service longer between repair visits and lower maintenance costs, while also offering additional savings on fuel and emissions, said the sources, which did not want to be identified.

ATR and Pratt & Whitney, a unit of Raytheon Technologies (NYSE :), both declined to comment.

Stefano Bortoli, ATR’s Chief Executive, promised in September that they would soon announce product improvements.

“There will be competition in the future … We have ideas on how we can maintain our leadership position. We are not resting on our laurels,” he told reporters in Toulouse, where ATR is based.

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