The ATR 42 is a twin-turboprop, short-haul regional airliner built in France and Italy by ATR (Aerei da Trasporto Regionale or Avions de Transport Régional) . The name "42" comes from the aircraft's standard seating, which varies from 40 to 52. The aircraft was the basis for the ATR 72.
The ATR-42 was the consortium's first aircraft and was launched in October 1981.
The first of two ATR-42 prototypes flew for the first time on August 16 1984. Italian and French authorities granted certification in September 1985 and the first ATR-42 entered airline service on December 9 1985.
The initial ATR-42-300 was the standard production version of the ATR-42 family until 1996 and features greater payload range and a higher takeoff weight than the prototypes. The similar ATR-42-320 (also withdrawn in 1996) differed in having the more powerful PW-121 engines for better hot and high performance, while the ATR-42 Cargo is a quick change freight/passenger version of the 42-300.
The ATR-42-500 is the first significantly improved version of the aircraft and features a revised interior, more powerful PW-127Es for a substantially increased cruising speed (565km/h/305kt) driving six blade propellers, a 1850km (1000nm) maximum range, the EFIS cockpit, elevators and rudders of the stretched ATR-72 (described separately), plus new brakes and landing gear and strengthened wing and fuselage for higher weights. The first ATR-42-500 delivery was in October 1995.
ATR was part of Aero International (Regional), the regional airliner consortium established in January 1996 to incorporate ATR, Avro and Jetstream. AI(R) handled sales, marketing and support for both the ATRs, plus the Avro RJs and the Jetstream 41, until its disbandment in mid 1998 when ATR regained its independence.