A French-Italian turboprop aircraft manufacturer ATR announced that it obtained the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for its newly built regional freighter ATR 72-600F. Having completed its maiden flights in September 2020, the regional freighter is ready to enter the service.
On December 3, 2020, ATR received EASA certification for the purpose-built freighter variant of ATR 72-600F. The manufacturer received 30 firm orders from FedEx Express, plus 20 options, placed back in November 2017. The ATR 72-600F is the first ATR aircraft to be directly delivered from the assembly line in Toulouse in a freighter configuration. The first cargo turboprop is scheduled to be delivered to its owner by the end of 2020.
According to the manufacturer’s statement, the regional freighter has a wide cross-section and a large cargo door that will allow the operator to transport bulk cargo as well as industry-standard pallets, containers, and reinforced floor panels. The ATR 72-600F is also equipped with the latest avionics suite, designed to accommodate regular future updates.
In addition, having a maximum structural payload of 8.9 tonnes (19,600 lbs) and a cargo volume space of 75.5 cubic meters (2,666 cubic feet), compared to Boeing 767 Freighter, the ATR 72-600F can carry about 20 less weight and is about 6 times smaller, but is able to provide the capacity for smaller regional deliveries.
The regional freighter completed its maiden flight on September 16, 2020. The aircraft took off from Saint-Martin in Toulouse, France, and performed a two-hour-long flight. During the flight, the onboard crew ran several diagnostic tests to measure the ATR’s flight envelope and performance.