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ATR Begins Ground Tests On -600 Series Airliners

Will Sport Updated Avionics, Increased Payload

French planemaker ATR announced this week the start of ground testing for its prototype '-600 series' aircraft, with tests of the upgrade turboprop airliner's electrical systems and its New Generation Avionics Suite, while integrating the first software package provided by Thales.

The achievement is in line with the original development plan scheduled for the -600 series ATRs, according to Luigi Lombardi, ATR SVP Operations. 

"We are proud of starting the ground test of the aircraft, which represent the result of a very strong work done in the last months, in partnership with Thales," said Lombardi. "We congratulate our teams, which are working around the clock. Thanks to such efforts, we are complying with the development calendar of the '-600 series' ATRs."

The new ATR 42-600 and ATR 72-600 aircraft will feature a totally renewed avionics suite, new PW 127M engines and additional 661 lbs. on MTOW (Maximum Take-off weight and MZFW (Maximum Zero Fuel Weight). ATR says its newest aircraft will also feature the lowest fuel consumption per passenger and CO2 emissions.

The ATR '600 series' pre-series aircraft, configured as an ATR 72, will do its maiden flight in summer 2009. The entry into service of this very last member of the ATR aircraft family is scheduled for the beginning of 2011.

FMI: www.atraircraft.com, www.thales.com

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