The PW100’s remarkable 30-year journey has been made possible by the airframe OEMs and airlines which seized upon the opportunities the engine created. In doing so, they gave birth to the modern regional airline business that exists around the globe today. In this post, we speak with Patrick de Castelbajac, CEO of ATR. The ATR 42 entered into service in 1985 powered by PW100 engines. Successive iterations of the aircraft have also been powered by the PW100, including the ATR 72-600, which has a 66- to 68-passenger capacity. The ATR 72-600 capitalized on the demand from regional carriers for larger, faster turboprops that emerged throughout the first decade of the new millennium.
ATR: BUILDING DEPENDABLE, LOW-COST AIRCRAFT POWERED BY P&WC
(Biographical note: Patrick de Castelbajac started his aeronautical career at MBDA (formerly Aerospatiale Missile) before spending three years as a lawyer at Baker & McKenzie in Paris. In 2002, he joined the Legal Affairs Direction of Airbus and in 2007 became Vice-President, Legal Affairs. At the end of 2010, he joined Airbus’ Commercial Direction as head of Contract Negotiations. He was appointed CEO of ATR in June 2014.)
P&WC: How does the PW100 engine fit with ATR’s brand and values?
Patrick de Castelbajac (PdC): “At ATR, what we’re trying to do is connect people, to enable our customers to have a dependable, very cheap-to-operate aircraft. We try to serve our customers the best way we can and provide them with an eco-efficient aircraft. We also provide them with a solution to regionally commute from one place to another, and the PW100 is ideal for this. The market will always need a dependable engine that can be supported anywhere in the world, and the PW100 provides this – that’s key for us and our customers.”
P&WC: How do you envision the PW100 engine 20 years from now?
PdC: “Well, I think that this is just the beginning. Twenty years from now, the qualities that made the PW100 a success – lightweight, dependable, fuel-efficient – will continue to be key drivers. It is essential that P&WC keeps this in mind when it makes technical upgrades in the years to come.”
P&WC: What are your hopes for the PW100?
PdC: “My hopes are that, together, as a partnership, we continue to make this engine and our aircraft a success. I think we are at the point where we need to make this engine evolve. We need to focus on customer needs – lower operating costs and improved fuel burn – and then our success will continue.”
Did you know…?
Formed in 1981, ATR is an equal partnership between two major European aeronautics players: Alenia Aermacchi (a Finmeccanica company) and the Airbus group. Its head office is in Toulouse, France. Sales of its regional turboprop aircraft exceed 1,400 with more than 180 operators operating in excess of 90 countries.