ATR 72

ATR 72
An ATR 72-202 in Eurolot livery
Role Regional airliner
National origin France/Italy
Manufacturer ATR
First flight 27 October 1988
Introduction 27 October 1989 (Finnair)
Status In service
Primary users Azul Brazilian Airlines
Wings Air
FedEx Express
Mount Cook Airline
Produced 1988–present
Number built 836 as of February 2016[1]
Unit cost
72–600: US$24.7 million (2014)[2]
Developed from ATR 42

The ATR 72 is a twin-engine turboprop short-haul regional airliner manufactured by the French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR. It was developed as a stretched variant of the ATR 42, and entered service in 1989. It has been typically employed as a regional airliner, although other roles have been performed by the type such as corporate transport, cargo aircraft and maritime patrol aircraft. Successive models of the ATR 72 have been introduced; a single aircraft can seat up to 78 passengers in a single-class configuration.

Design and development

Aer Arann ATR 72 on take off

The ATR 72 was developed from the ATR 42 in order to increase the maximum seating capacity (from 48 to 78) by stretching the fuselage by 4.5 metres (15 ft), increasing the wingspan, adding more powerful engines, and increasing fuel capacity by approximately 10 percent. The 72 was announced in 1986, made its maiden flight on 27 October 1988 and Finnair became the first airline to bring the aircraft into service a year later on 27 October 1989.[3]

In most configurations, passengers are boarded using the rear door, (which is unusual for a passenger aircraft) as the front door is used to load cargo, although Finnair ordered their ATR 72s with a front passenger door so that they could utilize the jet bridges at Helsinki–Vantaa Airport, and Air New Zealand's standard rear door aircraft can use jet bridges at airports with this equipment. A tail stand must be installed when passengers are boarding or disembarking in case the nose lifts off the ground, which is common if the aircraft is loaded or unloaded incorrectly.

The ATR 72 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW100-based turboprop engines with four or six-bladed propellers supplied by Hamilton Standard. Earlier ATR 72s were equipped with the PW124B engine rated at 2400 shp, whilst later aircraft were equipped with the PW127 rated at a maximum of 2750 shp for improved "hot and high" takeoff performance.

The aircraft does not have an auxiliary power unit (APU) as normally equipped. The APU is an option and would be placed in the C4 cargo section. Most air carriers normally equip the aircraft with a propeller brake (referred to as "Hotel Mode") that stops the propeller on the No. 2 (right) engine, allowing the turbine to run and provide air and power to the aircraft while on the ground without the propeller spinning.

At the end of 2014, ATR had received 1000 orders for the type and delivered 754, leaving a backlog of 246 aircraft.[4] Since 2008, ATR has been a participant in the European Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative and on 8 July 2015 a “green” ATR 72-600 flying technology demonstrator made its first flight; it is to be used to trial new composite insulating materials, electrical distribution system and energy dispersal modifications, and air conditioning systems to evaluate their effect on overall efficiency.[5]

Speaking at the Farnborough Airshow in July 2016, the CEO of ATR Patrick de Castelbajac suggested that the company was examining the possibility of replacing the current Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127 engine with either a new offer from P&WC, or a GE38 derivative from GE Aviation. Although expressing his satisfaction with the current engine and supplier, Castelbajac noted the design's age and the need to remain competitive with the latest regional jets. To be worthwhile, any re-engine would require a 15% improvement in fuel-burn and 20-25% reduction of direct maintenance costs. Castelbajac sees the potential re-engine as a "bridge" to the eventual development of a larger 100-seat aircraft.[6]

Operational history

ATR 72 cabin.

The Turkish Navy, which initially decided to purchase ten ATR 72–500 MPA, later modified its order to eight ATR 72–600 aircraft: Two 72–600 TMUA (utility) versions, and six 72–600 TMPA (ASW/ASuW) versions.[7][8] The two ATR 72–600 TMUA aircraft were delivered to the Turkish Navy in 2013.[9]


ATR 72–100

Two sub-types were marketed as the 100 series (−100).

ATR 72–101
Initial production variant with front and rear passenger doors, powered by two PW124B engines and certified in September 1989.
ATR 72–102
Initial production variant with a front cargo door and a rear passenger door, powered by two PW124B engines and certified in December 1989.

ATR 72–200

Aurigny Air Services ATR 72–200 lands at Bristol Airport, England

Two sub-types were marketed as the 200 series (−200). The −200 was the original production version, powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW124B engines rated at 2,400 shp (1,800 kW).[10]

ATR 72–201
Higher maximum take-off weight variant of the −101, a PW124B-powered variant certified in September 1989.
ATR 72–202
Higher maximum take-off weight variant of the −102, a PW124B-powered variant certified in December 1989.

ATR 72–210

Two sub-types were marketed as the 210 series (−210), the −211, (and with an enlarged cargo door, called the −212), is a −200 with PW127 engines producing 2,750 shp (2,050 kW) each for improved performance in hot and high-altitude conditions. The sub-types differ in the type of doors and emergency exits

ATR 72–211
PW127-powered variant certified in December 1992.
ATR 72–212
PW127-powered variant certified in December 1992.

ATR 72-212A

A CCM ATR 72–500 during boarding, showing the front cargo hold, rear passenger integrated stairway, and parking tail stand.
An Air Nostrum ATR 72–600 climbing after take-off

Certified in January 1997 and fitted with either PW127F or PW127M engines, the −212A is an upgraded version of the −210 using six-bladed propellers on otherwise identical PW127F engines. Other improvements include higher maximum weights and superior performance, as well as greater automation of power management to ease pilot workload.

ATR 72–500
Initial marketing name for the ATR 72-212A.
ATR 72–600
Marketing name for ATR 72-212A with different equipment fit. The −600 series aircraft was announced in October 2007; the first deliveries were planned for the second half of 2010.[11][12] The prototype ATR 72–600 first flew on 24 July 2009; it had been converted from an ATR 72–500.[13]
The ATR 72–600 features several improvements. It is powered by the new PW127M engines, which enable a 5% increase in takeoff power via a "boost function" used only when called for by takeoff conditions. The flight deck features five wide LCD screens (improving on the EFIS of earlier versions). A multi-purpose computer (MPC) aims at increasing flight safety and operational capabilities, and new Thales-made avionics provide Required Navigation Performance (RNP) capabilities. It also features lighter seats and larger overhead baggage bins. In December 2015, the EASA approved a new high-density seating layout, raising the maximum capacity from 74 to 78 seats.[14]

Other versions


Bulk Freighter (tube versions) and ULD Freighter (Large Cargo Door). ATR unveiled a large cargo door modification for all ATR 72 at Farnborough 2002, coupled with a dedicated cargo conversion. FedEx, DHL, and UPS all operate the type.[15]


The ATR 72 ASW integrates the ATR 42 MP (Maritime Patrol) mission system with the same on-board equipment but with additional ASW capabilities. An anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variant of the −500 (itself a version of the maritime patrol variant of the ATR 42–500) is also in production[16] and has been selected by the Italian Navy for ASW and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) duties. Italy's order of four aircraft will begin to be delivered in 2012. For the ASW and ASuW missions, the aircraft will be armed with a pod-mounted machine gun, lightweight aerial torpedoes, anti-surface missiles, and depth charges.[17] They will be equipped with the Thales AMASCOS (Airborne Maritime Situation and Control System) maritime surveillance system as well as electronic warfare and reconnaissance systems, so that they may also be used for maritime search and rescue operations.[18]


A VIP version of the −500 is available with a luxury interior for executive or corporate transport.[19]

ATR 82 

During the mid-1980s, the company investigated a 78-seat derivative of the ATR 72. This would have been powered by two Allison AE2100 turboprops (turbofans were also studied for a time) and would have had a cruising speed as high as 330kt. The ATR-82 project (as it was dubbed) was suspended when AI(R) was formed in early 1996.[20]

ATR Quick Change 

This proposed version targeted the increasing demand of worldwide cargo and express mail markets, where the aim is to allow operators to supplement their passengers flights with freighter flights.

In Quick Change configuration, the smoke detector is equipped alongside other modifications required in order to meet the certification for full freight operations. The aircraft was equipped with a larger cargo door (1.27 m [50 in] wide and 1.52 m [60 in] high) and low door-sill height of an average 1.2 m (4 ft), facilitating containerized freight loading.

It takes 30 minutes to convert the aircraft on ATR 42, while for ATR 72, it takes 45 minutes. Each optimized container has 2.8 m3 (99 cu ft) of usable volume and maximum payload is 435 kg (960 lb).[21]

Major operators

Civilian operations

ATR 72–500 at Joensuu Airport
Caribbean ATR 72–600
A Precision Air ATR 72–500
Cebu Pacific at Calbayog City Airport.

Main ATR 72 operator airlines (with 10 aircraft or more)

In February 2016, ATR signed a deal with Iran Air for 20 ATR 72-600 planes with an option for 20 more.[46]

Military operators

Accidents and incidents

Specifications (ATR 72–600)

ATR 72 sideview
Line drawings of ATR

Data from ATR,[65][66]

General characteristics


See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era



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