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IconMarch 2nd, 2023
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First PW127XT-powered ATR 72-600 delivered to Air Corsica

ATR, a Franco-Italian regional aircraft manufacturer, finally announced something major after several weeks of hinting. Air Corsica received the first ATR 72-600 equipped with Pratt & Whitney Canada 127XT engines, a series that has never been seen before. A year ago, at the Dubai Airshow, the regional flag carrier agreed to purchase five new ATR 72-600s. The firm order came at a time when Air Corsica was looking to upgrade its fleet and advance its efforts in sustainability. The airline currently operates one ATR 42-500, five 72-500, four A320-200, and two A320neo aircraft.

Updated propulsion standard

Nevertheless, before we discuss the regional aircraft’s delivery flight and other details, let us focus on the most important element: the engines. The ATR 72-600 was introduced in 2007 with Pratt & Whitney 127M engines, the latest innovation from the PW100 series at the time that resulted in a 40% increase in fuel efficiency. Pratt & Whitney Canada’s 127XT engine series was conceived by ATR to raise the propulsion standard and increase the sustainability of the popular regional aircraft. As a result of the latest materials and technologies available on the market today, the new engine series improves sustainability and operating economics in regional aviation. As a result of using the PW127XT series, the ATR 72-600 has a 40% longer wing time, which led to the designation ‘extra time’ or ‘XT’. In addition, the new series reduces engine maintenance costs by approximately 20% by bringing the engine overhaul to 20,000 hours, resulting in fewer engine overhauls over the aircraft’s lifecycle. With technology injection, the PW127XT will also provide a 3% improvement in fuel efficiency compared to the PW127M, meaning that compared to similar-sized regional aircraft, the new ATR 72-600s will burn and emit approximately 45% less fuel. As part of the new engine series, Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) can also be used.

The fleet has a new member

After covering the new engines, let’s now discuss the latest addition to the fleet. Registered as F-HXKA and christened ‘A Paglia Orba,’ the aircraft flew from Toulouse Blagnac Airport to Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport. According to Marie-Hélène Casanova-Servas, President of Air Corsica’s Supervisory Board, the first ATR 72-600 aircraft will significantly improve short-haul flights. The ATR has proven to be the right product for our short-haul operations in Corsica. They are central to our air travel model. This makes perfect business sense, and moreover, is the most responsible choice to select the latest generation turboprop, the latest engine on the market to equip it, and the best maintenance programme to optimize its reliability.” F-HXKA’s new engines are undeniably its most notable feature, but it has a little more to offer than the new engines. As a first for an ATR cabin, Air Corsica’s passengers will also be able to use USB ports for charging electronic devices during flights, a notable feature.

The two parties are a perfect match

With the PW127XT engine series, Air Corsica has opted to optimize the maintenance of its entire ATR fleet through a 12-year Global Maintenance Agreement since it results in fewer events during the lifecycle of F-HXKA and its four remaining ATR 72-600s. This contract covers the airline’s ATR fleet’s repair and overhaul services on an hourly basis. It also includes pooling services of Line Replaceable Units, such as propellers, landing gears, and leading edges, as well as a long-term price agreement for more than 2,000 spare parts. Nathalie Tarnaud Laude, Chief Executive Officer of ATR, confirmed that the airline’s fleet would be well cared for: The Air Corsica and ATR team have been flying the latest technology and most responsible aircraft ever since their first flight together in 1990. As our product evolves to meet new market needs and incorporates further innovations, it remains the most reliable, efficient, cost-effective aircraft on the market, as well as the most sustainable regional route operator. ATR and Air Corsica are a perfect match for this reason.

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