The first ATR 72 Freighter delivery took place in July 2002 for the Swiss company Farnair. It was followed by the first ATR 42 with Large Cargo Door delivery to Northern Air Cargo. By December 2010, less than 8 years later, some 90 ATR passenger to freighter conversions had been performed ; regional or feeder operators are spread worldwide.
The ATR Freighter's appeal is explained by the specific conditions that drive cargo market:
Global cargo market growth approaching 5% per year.
Express parcels fastest growing segment, boosted by e-commerce : > 20% yearly growth.
Increasing demand for modules of ATR size as feeders for large integrators (FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.).
Ageing cargo fleet in this category.
Excellent ATR characteristics allowing LD3 containers and 88” width pallet accommodation with Large Cargo Door.
Growing availability of ATR a/c on the 2nd hand market at prices consistent with cargo market requirements.