SEOUL, Nov. 16 (Yonhap) -- European turboprop manufacturer ATR said Wednesday it aims to sell 25 turboprop aircraft in South Korea by 2030 amid growing demand for short-distance travel and an interest in fuel-efficiency.
ATR is targeting to see a total of 25 turboprop planes operated in Korea within the next seven years, Fabrice Vautier, ATR's senior vice president of commercial, said in a press conference in Seoul.
ATR is a 50:50 joint venture set up in 1981 between France's Airbus and Italy's Leonardo. It has sold more than 1,800 turboprop planes and assembles parts into the finished products in France.
Currently, Hi Air operates three ATR turboprop planes on four routes from Gimpo in Seoul to the southern resort island of Jeju, the industrial city of Ulsan, Sacheon of North Gyeongsang Province, and Muan of North Jeolla Province.
ATR sees a big growth potential for turboprop aircraft in the Korean market due to several factors.
ATR's turboprop planes with 50-78 seats are more fuel efficient and emit less carbon dioxide compared to an 86-seat passenger jet. Given this, it will be a good alternative for businesses to operate less-emitting and more fuel-efficient aircraft, he said.
ATR currently uses sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for 50 percent of its jet fuel and targets to raise the ratio to 100 percent in 2025.
Moreover, it will be able to provide more connectivity to the most remote communities such as Ulleung Island, Baengnyeong Island and Heuksan Island. On Ulleung Island, a 1,200-meter runway is scheduled to be completed in 2025, the executive said.
He went on to say turboprop planes will offer flight services on domestic routes from the country's east coast to the west coast as well as carry passengers and cargo on short-range international routes to Japan and China.
With the KTX bullet train and other means of transportation, it takes about several hours to cross the country from east to west. It only 50 minutes with an ATR plane, the company said.
ATR is the world's leading regional aircraft manufacturer, with its ATR 42 and 72 aircraft the bestselling aircraft in its market segment.
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