The Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR has announced its plans to take a step forward in responsible flying with the production of the next generation of its best-selling aircraft-the ATR ‘EVO,’ which will be powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). On Wednesday, the regional turboprop company revealed its intentions. It paved the way for the launch of the next-generation EVO turboprop featuring advanced design characteristics and a new powerplant with hybrid capability. The new airliner will use cutting-edge innovative technology and make a commercial debut in 2030.
ATR EVO aircraft
The ATR board and shareholders, the Airbus and Leonardo groups, have already approved to analyze of the feasibility of the new EVO family of turboprops that aims to achieve cost-saving through 20% lower fuel burn and a 20% overall reduction in maintenance costs. The ATR EVO is a hybrid-electric variant of ATR’s best-selling family of regional aircraft that will incorporate a series of new features, including new propellers, upgraded systems, an enhanced cabin, a new, more aerodynamic design, etc.
The new ATR EVO will be equipped with a hybrid-electric powertrain and advanced technologies to significantly improve the performance, economics, and sustainability of the aircraft. The Toulouse-based company has requested information from the leading engine maker for a new generation of engines that will have a mild hybridization with a thermal engine, a battery, and an electrical motor. The powerplant will be future-proof, ensure further optimization, and be designed to evolve from one energy to another when hydrogen is available. Similarly, the two-engine turboprop will have 100% SAF compatibility, minimizing environmental carbon emissions.
The CEO of ATR company, Stefano Bortoli, explained the potential of a greener generation of aircraft to lead towards a decarbonized future for aviation by emitting over 50% less CO2 than a regional jet when powered by kerosene. The incremental innovation in the new ATR EVO will provide 20% less fuel consumption than the models in the company’s current portfolio.
Besides the incorporation of a powerplant with existing and future engine technologies, the new EVO aircraft will also feature an enhanced avionics system, eight-blade propellers, an upgraded cabin that uses bio-based renewable materials, improved performance in terms of time to climb, etc. ATR company will keep recyclability at the heart of the new design, making the aircraft recyclable.
The world leader in regional aviation, ATR will work with aero-engine manufacturers, system producers, and carriers in the coming months to launch its next-gen EVO turboprop in 2023.
The base for next-generation turboprop
The high-wing, T-tail turboprop concept of the new, sustainable EVO turboprop will be based on the latest ATR 72-600 aircraft while keeping the same primary structure, owing to its efficiency. The wing will undergo some modification, but most of it will remain almost the same. A few months back, the ATR 72-600 aircraft successfully operated a series of test flights on 100% SAF. Accumulating seven hours of flight, the airliners used second-generation biofuel made from renewable waste and residue raw materials. The ATR Company seeks to certify its latest version of ATR 72 aircraft for flying on 100% SAF by 2025.
Apart from the benefit of zero or fifty percent lower emission, the operators of ATR EVO can leap the advantages of double-digit operating cost savings through 20% lower fuel burn and 20% overall maintenance cost reduction. This will culminate in profitable air services in thin routes, expanded air connectivity, more essential services, and more economic development. Providing more inclusive and responsible air transportation, the new generation EVO turboprop will better serve the customers and society.
The plan to launch ATR EVO can be seen as a response to Embraer’s forecast to launch advanced turboprop sharing components and parts with the successful E-jets in mid-2023. The Brazilian company has consulted several manufacturers for the sustainable propulsion system and will decide on the subject by the year-end.
Aerei da Transport Regionale or Avions de transport regional (ATR) is a 50:50 joint venture between Airbus and Leonardo, headquartered in Toulouse Blagnac International Airport, France. The regional aircraft manufacturer has sold more than 1600 aircraft, with the principal product being ATR 42 and ATR 72 variants.
The ATR 42 is a STOL aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW 127 M engine. It has a maximum seating capacity of 48 passengers and a 30% fuel burn advantage on seats. Similarly, the 44-78 seater ATR 72 is the most fuel-efficient regional aircraft and the first green financed commercial aircraft.