The maiden flight on 16 September 2020 of the FedEx-owned ATR 72-600F – the first freighter built by the joint venture between Leonardo and Airbus – is another important milestone in ATR’s history. Since 1981, ATR has sold more than 1,700 regional aircraft to over 200 operators from 100 different countries, becoming the undisputed market leader for regional aircraft up to 90 seats.
The Leonardo plant in Pomigliano d’Arco accepted this new challenge on 25 January 2018, taking on the design, industrialisation and production of the new aircraft, which is optimised for air cargo operations.
While sharing the main systems and part of the primary structure of the passenger version, the newly developed, dedicated industry standard (ST7) ATR 72-600F adapts and introduces new installations specific to freight transport: the large front cargo door, the rear cargo door, new fuselage panels and new internal layout are instantly identifiable features of the new freight version.
3,000 new parts, over 250 new pieces of assembly equipment and more than 10 domestic and international suppliers of major new components underscore the important role of Leonardo and its satellite industries, as well as the central role of the company’s supply chain and its technological contribution to the programme.
In addition to FedEx, which has signed a contract for 30 aircraft and an option for 20 more, other companies have also expressed their interest in the ATR 72-600F. This is having a significant impact both in commercial and production terms, generating professional and technological growth and strengthening the entire chain.
This significant milestone for ATR is also a major one for Leonardo, demonstrating our unwavering commitment to taking up new challenges posed by technology and the evolving markets.