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Comparing Regional Workhorses: ATR 72 ATR 42 and Dash Q400 Differences

Comparing Regional Workhorses: ATR 72 ATR 42 and Dash Q400 Differences


Regional turboprop aircraft like the ATR 72 ATR 42 and Dash Q400 differences are essential for short-haul routes and smaller airports. Choosing the right aircraft is crucial for operational efficiency and passenger satisfaction. This article compares these three popular models to help airlines make an informed decision.

Aircraft Overview

The ATR 72 and ATR 42 are manufactured by ATR, a joint venture between Airbus and Leonardo. The ATR 72, introduced in 1988, and the ATR 42, first flown in 1984, are known for their reliability and efficiency in regional markets which is a key ATR 72 ATR 42 and Dash Q400 Differences. The Dash Q400, developed by Bombardier, entered service in 2000 and is renowned for its speed and comfort.

ATR 72

Technical Specifications

SpecificationATR 72ATR 42Dash Q400
Capacity (Seats)68-7840-5070-78
Range (Nautical Miles)8258001,100
Cruise Speed (Knots)275275360

The ATR 72 and ATR 42 offer similar performance, with the main difference being capacity. The Dash Q400, however, provides a longer range and higher cruise speed, making it suitable for slightly longer regional routes.

Performance and Efficiency

Fuel efficiency and operating costs are critical for regional airlines. The ATR aircraft are known for their excellent fuel economy, particularly on shorter routes. ATR 72 ATR 42 and Dash Q400 Differences slightly less fuel-efficient, compensates with higher speed and longer range.

  • Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) capabilities: All three aircraft can operate on short runways, making them versatile for regional airports.
  • Fuel consumption rates: ATR models are generally more fuel-efficient.
  • Maintenance costs: All models have competitive maintenance costs, though ATR aircraft may have a slight edge due to simpler systems.

Passenger Comfort and Amenities

Dash Q400

Passenger comfort is a key consideration for airlines.

FeatureATR 72ATR 42Dash Q400
Seat Pitch (Inches)30-3230-3232-34
In-Flight EntertainmentOptionalOptionalAvailable
Noise LevelsLowLowVery Low

The Dash Q400 offers superior noise reduction, enhancing passenger comfort. Both ATR models provide a competitive seating arrangement and optional in-flight entertainment.

Operational Versatility

These aircraft are highly versatile, suitable for various regional operations.

  • Ability to operate on short runways: All models excel in this area.
  • Performance in hot and high-altitude airports: The Dash Q400 has a slight advantage due to its powerful engines.
  • Cargo capacity and conversion options: ATR aircraft offer flexible cargo-passenger configurations.

Economic Considerations

Cost-effectiveness is a major factor in aircraft selection.

  • Acquisition and leasing costs: ATR aircraft are generally less expensive than the Dash Q400.
  • Operating and maintenance costs: ATR models typically have lower operating costs.
  • Fuel savings over jet aircraft: Significant for all three models.
  • Return on investment for regional airlines: ATR aircraft may offer quicker ROI due to lower acquisition costs.

ATR 72 ATR 42 and Dash Q400 Differences

Environmental performance is increasingly important.

Environmental MetricATR 72ATR 42Dash Q400
CO2 Emissions (g/km)LowLowModerate
Noise FootprintSmallSmallVery Small

The ATR models produce fewer emissions, while the Dash Q400 excels in noise reduction.

Market Impact and Airline Preferences

These aircraft are popular among regional airlines globally.

Case Studies

  • Airline testimonials: Many airlines praise the ATR 72 for its reliability and efficiency.
  • Operational success stories: The Dash Q400 is favored for its speed and comfort on longer regional routes.

Future Developments

Manufacturers are continuously improving these aircraft.

  • New engine technologies: Enhancing fuel efficiency and performance.
  • Enhanced aerodynamics: Reducing drag and improving range.
  • Digital cockpit and avionics upgrades: Increasing operational efficiency and safety.

Read More: Airbus A320neo: Redefining Efficiency in Commercial Aviation


Choosing between the ATR 72 ATR 42 and Dash Q400 Differences depends on specific operational needs. While ATR models offer excellent fuel efficiency and lower costs, the Dash Q400 provides speed and comfort advantages. Airlines must consider their route structures, passenger needs, and financial goals to make the best choice.



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