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[PHOTO] ATR Celebrates 40-year Anniversary

Written by: Ivo Gračanin.

ATR 40 years


ATR marks its 40-year anniversary, celebrating key breakthroughs for regional aviation over the past four decades. The turboprop manufacturer will also use this milestone to look to the future, as it continues to incorporate innovative and sustainable technologies into its aircraft.

On November 4 1981, ATR’s founding partners – Aerospatiale of France and Aeritalia of Italy – signed the agreement that sealed the shared ambition to produce an aircraft designed for regional connectivity. With an initial business case for a few hundred aircraft, 40 years later, the ATR family now has four versions and ATR has sold 1,700 aircraft. The programme’s enduring success stems from a design that set a benchmark in innovation, incorporating composite materials for the first time. This initial technological leap has since been supplemented by the company’s dedication to continuous development, integrating new technology that deliver tangible benefits to passengers and operators alike.



Burning 40% less fuel, emitting 40% less CO2 than regional jets and able to serve the world’s most challenging runways, the ATR is the go-to aircraft to provide essential connectivity, sustainably. The combination of this fuel efficiency and versatility, has made it the perfect tool to deliver regional connectivity to local communities, supporting people to connect for business, education, healthcare and leisure opportunities.

ATR has built strong foundations with which to enter the next phase of regional aviation and has set ambitious milestones in the years to come:

  • Fly on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) by 2025

  • Deliver the ATR 42-600S Short Take-Off and Landing version by 2025 and open up connectivity to 500 additional airports with short runways

  • Expand the regional freighter offer with the ATR72-600F, tapping into the demand for 460 regional freighters over the next 20 years.



ATR’s key milestones over the years:

4.11.1981. - The Cooperation Agreement launching the ATR programme is signed in Paris. Aeritalia and Aerospatiale chairmen, Renato Bonifacio & Jacques Mitterrand, respectively, launch the ATR 42.

16.8.1984. - The ATR 42 makes its first flight in Toulouse, France.

25.9.1985. - The French & Italian airworthiness authorities – DGAC (Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile) & RAI (Registro Aeronautico Italiano) – certify the ATR 42.

3.12.1985. - The French regional airline Air Littoral takes delivery of the first ATR 42.

Siječanj 1986. - The ATR family grows with the launch of the stretched fuselage ATR 72 version.

22.8.1988. - The 100th ATR is delivered to the American regional airline Trans World Express.

27.10.1988. - The ATR 72 takes to the air on its first flight.

Srpanj 1989. - The first ATR Training Centre is established in Toulouse, providing a modern and centralised facility for the training of crews and personnel for the growing number of ATR airlines in the world.

25.9.1989. - The ATR 72 is certified by the French DGAC airworthiness authority.

27.10.1989. - The Finish airline Finnair takes delivery of the first ATR 72.

15.11.1989. - Certification of the ATR 72 by the U.S. FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).

Lipanj 1993. - Go-ahead of the ATR -500 series version.

19.9.1994. - First flight of the ATR 42-500.

28.7.1995. - Certification of the ATR 42-500 by the French airworthiness authority (DGAC).

Listopad 1995. - First delivery of an ATR 42-500 to the Italian regional airline Air Dolomiti.

19.1.1996. - First flight of the ATR 72-500.

14.1.1997. - ATR 72-500 certification by the French airworthiness authority (DGAC).

31.7.1997. - Delivery of the first ATR 72-500 to American Eagle, affiliate of American Airlines.

5.9.1997. - American Eagle takes delivery of the 500th ATR. This milestone distinguishes ATR by making it the first European programme in its market segment to reach the 500 delivery mark.

Listopad 2007. - ATR announces the launch of its –600 series aircraft

Svibanj 2011. - ATR 72-600 obtains EASA certification.

Kolovoz 2011. - The first ATR 72-600 is delivered to Morocco’s Royal Air Maroc.

Siječanj 2012. - ATR announces orders for 157 new ATR aircraft in 2011, the record sales for a single year since the beginning of the programme.

3.5.2012. - ATR delivers its 1000th aircraft to Spanish carrier Air Nostrum.

Studeni 2012. - The first ATR 42-600 is delivered to Tanzania’s Precision Air Services.

6.7.2015. - Elbit Systems & ATR sign an agreement for the integration of ClearVisionTM Enhanced Vision System with the new SkylensTM head-mounted display onboard ATR -600 aircraft. A world first in commercial aviation.

1.2.2017. - First ever flight of an ATR fueled with biofuel, performed by Braathens Regional Airlines

Studeni 2017. - Launch of the ATR 72-600F first ever purpose-built regional freighter.

29.11.2018. - 1,500th ATR delivered to Japan Air Commuter.

16.5.2019. - ATR collaborates with BRA, Air BP and Neste to achieve the “Perfect Flight” from Halmstad City to Stockholm Bromma. Sustainable Aviation Fuel was used to power the ATR 72-600 with 72 passengers on board, and every element of the flight management process was optimised, leading to an emissions reduction of 46%.

9.10.2019. - ATR widens its horizons with launch of its ATR 42-600S Short Take-off and Landing programme.

2020. - First Delivery of ATR 72-600F Freighter.

16.9.2021. - ATR partners with BRA and Sustainable Aviation Fuel producer Neste to achieve a 100% SAF demo flight in 2022.