Switzerland-based IPR Conversions redelivered an ATR72-202F to Canada’s Summit Air following conversion to large cargo door configuration. This redelivery is something of a milestone not just for IPR and Summit, but for the air freight and express industry as well.
In 2002, ATR began offering passenger-to-freighter conversion of ATR42 and ATR72 turboprop aircraft through Alenia Aermacchi. There had never been a production ATR freighter, but Alenia was (along with EADS) a partner in ATR, so had access to OEM data. The conversion was popular, and by 2010 Alenia had redelivered ten ATR72Fs and one ATR42F with large cargo doors, as well as some eighty in bulk-load configuration.
Oddly, given the popularity of the ATR freighters, the conversion program ended in 2010. No public announcement was made about the reason for the move, but for the next five years the ATR P-to-F conversion STCs gathered dust and the tooling was crated up and stored away.
Last year, however, newly formed IPR Conversions acquired the STCs and re-launched the program. Its first redelivery, to Summit Air, took place on 8 December 2015. But this was of an ATR72 in bulk-load configuration (what IPR calls Structural Tube configuration), and this week’s redelivery of an ATR72 in large cargo door configuration is much more important, signifying as it does, that a full-freighter ATR72 is once again available.
Conversion of both the bulk-load and large-door freighters redelivered to Summit Air was performed by ASI Maintenance in Toulouse. In the future, Cargo Facts believes that IPR’s bulk-load conversions will also be carried out by Empire Airlines’ maintenance arm in the US.
A video provided by IPR is available below, but those interested in a more detailed analysis of the application of ATR freighters in the air freight and express industry should join us at the Cargo Facts Symposium (10 – 12 October in Miami) where Hugh Flynn and Tim Komberec, the CEOs of the world’s two largest ATR freighter operators (ASL Aviation Group and Empire Airlines, respectively) will take part in a session devoted to all-cargo airlines. To register, or for more information, go to CargoFactsSymposium.com.