The British Aerospace ATP (Advanced Turbo-Prop) is an airliner designed and produced by British Aerospace. It was an evolution of the Hawker Siddeley HS 748, a fairly successful feederliner of the 1960s.

West Air Sweden ATP
Role Airliner
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer British Aerospace
First flight 6 August 1986
Introduction 1988
Status In limited service
Produced 1988–1996
Number built 65
Developed from Hawker Siddeley HS 748

The ATP was developed during the 1980s, events such as such as the 1979 oil crisis and increasing public concern regarding aircraft noise led to business planners at British Aerospace to believe that there was a market for a short-range, low-noise, fuel-efficient turboprop aircraft. First flown on 6 August 1986, by the time it became commercially available, the market segment it fell within was already hotly contested by multiple other airliners, such as the de Havilland Canada Dash 8, ATR 42, and ATR 72. Amid this intense competition, sales of the ATP were limited, leading British Aerospace to terminate production after only eight years, during which a total of 65 aircraft were completed.

The final European operator of the ATP, West Air Sweden, made a final repositioning flight on 24 February 2023. Thus marking the end of the type’s primary active service. As of March 2023, there are only four airframes in active service. [1]

Design and development edit

Background edit

The origins of the ATP can be traced back to, in part, the 1979 oil crisis, which had caused dramatic rises in fuel prices; there was considerable attention paid to the possibility of another such event, thus operators came to place greater value on the fuel efficiency of their aircraft.[2] Another factor that had gained prominence around this time was noise pollution. Recognising these trends, British Aerospace decided that it would assign a design team to produce an airliner, suitable for short- to medium-haul operations, that would be both more fuel efficient and quieter than the prior generations of aircraft.[2]

It was quickly decided that a development of the existing Hawker Siddeley HS 748 airliner would be the preferred option.[3] The airframe was redesigned with a lengthened 26.01 metres (85.3 ft) fuselage and a larger 30.62 metres (100.5 ft) wing span.[2] the airliner was originally designed to accommodate 64 passengers, although the actual capacity could change considerably dependent on customer configuration, and was sized to slot between the original HS 748's capacity of 50 seats and the jet-powered British Aerospace 146's capacity of 100 seats.[4] The aircraft was also designed to be compliant with the latest regulations pertaining to air travel in both Europe and the United States.[5]

The cockpit was also redesigned to ease pilot workload using measures such as colour-coded instrumentation and a centralised fault warning panel.[4] Equipped with digital avionics and multifunction displays, it was considered to be a glass cockpit. Various other minor modifications were performed across the airframe, such as the reshaping of areas such as the more pointed nose, the tail unit's swept fin and rudder, and revised wingtips.[6] Furthermore, the windows were reduced in size and had a shorter pitch than those of the HS 748. There was a 30% commonality between the two aircraft.[5]

The propulsion was significantly revised from that of the HS 748; the twin Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engines of its predecessor were substituted for Pratt & Whitney Canada PW126 engines, a more modern counterpart. Each engine drove a custom-designed six-blade propeller jointly developed by British Aerospace and the American specialist Hamilton Standard.[2][7] These large diameter propellers were designed to turn slower than traditional equivalents to generate less noise; their distance from the fuselage meant that passengers were subject to noise levels comparable to contemporary jetliners.[4] The airliner was also relatively lightweight, weighing only 468 pounds per seat, which was reportedly less than any other regional airliner in its size category in the mid-1980s.[5] Partially as a result of these refinements, the aircraft's cruise speed was increased considerably over that of its predecessor.[6] The project's existence was revealed to the public in early 1984.[7]

Into flight edit

On 6 August 1986, the prototype ATP performed its maiden flight from Manchester Airport, flown by test pilot Robby Robinson.[5] This initial flight, which lasted several hours, was relatively non-notable, except for adverse weather conditions being present for the type's first landing. At the time of this first flight, the company expected the ATP to enter revenue service during 1987.[5]

An ATP in service with SATA Air Açores seen at Lajes Field in April 2009

Between 1987 and 2002, BAe reportedly held ambitions to sell around 300 ATPs.[8][7] It proved to be far more economic than preceding aircraft used for the role, such as the BAC 1-11 and the Douglas DC9 jetliners.[9][5] However, throughout the ATP's production run, the regional airline market was hotly contested by numerous companies, including the Dutch aircraft company Fokker, Canadian transport manufacturer Bombardier, and the European specialist ATR. This led to BAe investigating potential partnerships amongst its competitors, ultimately resulting in the short-lived merger of its regional airliner manufacturing division with ATR under the name Aero International (Regional) on 26 January 1995.[10]

Assembly of the type was largely undertaken at BAe's Woodford and Prestwick facilities, while the manufacture of both the airframe and wings was performed at the Chadderton plant. During mid 1997, BAe announced that production of the ATP was permanently terminated; work at the Prestwick was promptly shifted to the aerostructures sector.[11] By this point, a total of 65 aircraft had been completed.

During July 2000, a project was announced that resulted in the conversion of existing aircraft into the ATP Freighter (ATPF) configuration, which was promoted to cargo operators.[12] Outfitted with a modified freight door derived from that of the HS 748, the ATPF can carry 30% more cargo than its predecessor with a 10% increase in running costs. Under this programme, an initial batch of six ATPs were converted into freighter on behalf of the cargo airline West Air Sweden.[13]

Operational history edit

During 1988, the ATP entered commercial service with the regional airline British Midland. Numerous British airliners were quick to adopt and operate the type, including British Airways, Loganair, and British Regional Airlines.[14][15] During the 1990s, various charter operators also adopted small fleets of ATPs.[16] The air ferry company British World Airlines also opted to acquire several ATPs in a quick change configuration.[17][18]

During the late 1990s, the Scandinavian airline Sun-Air initiated a long-term plan to introduce jet-powered airliners into its fleet by 2000; as a step towards this, and to help handle increasing passenger traffic on its routes between Denmark and Britain, the company acquired a pair of second-hand ATPs during late 1997;[19] further aircraft would follow.[20] Around the same timeframe, the Spanish operator Air Europa Express became a sizable user of the type; in August 1998, it announced its intention to double its ATP fleet from six to 12 aircraft.[21]

Early sales efforts had been particularly focused on the North American market, BAE reportedly held negotiations with numerous carriers across the continent; the first success was an order for five ATPs from the Canadian carrier Avline.[8] In September 1987, the American operator Wings West Airlines announced that it had picked the ATP as the winner of an international competition; the initial order for 10 airliners represented the ATP's breakthrough into the lucrative US market. Carl Albert, President and Chief Executive of Wings West, stated that the ATP was superior to its closest competitors, such as the De Havilland Canada Dash 8 and the Fokker 50, and claimed it offered the lowest seat-mile costs of any turboprop airliner.[8][4] In practice, the only U.S. operator of the ATP in scheduled passenger service was Air Wisconsin, which flew as United Express on behalf of United Airlines via a code sharing agreement.[2]

During the mid-2000s, the ATP was being increasingly used to carry aerial freight with numerous operators.[22][23] By December 2021, 12 aircraft reportedly remained in commercial service as cargo aircraft with West Air Sweden (10) and Deraya (2).[24][25][26]

Variants edit

Several ATP variants were proposed and produced for civil and military use:

Jetstream 61

The British Aerospace Jetstream 61 was an improved derivative of the ATP. It featured an interior based on the Jetstream 41, with innovative cabin wall armrests and an increase in capacity from 64 to 70 seats. In addition, the airframe incorporated more powerful PW127 engines and increased weights and range.

For Farnborough, the original prototype ATP (serial number 2001) was re-painted in a J61 scheme and re-registered G-PLXI (LXI being the Roman numeral for 61. The first flight of a proper J61 aircraft was by 2064 G-JLXI on 10 May 1994 from Prestwick. Four airframes were produced as Jetstream 61s, 2065 being the only other to have flown before British Aerospace's regional airliner manufacturing operations were merged with ATR as Aero International (Regional) on 26 January 1995. With the already highly successful ATR 72 now part of the same product range, the Jetstream 61 was immediately cancelled with all four airframes being scrapped at Prestwick.

Maritime ATP

This was a variant for use in military naval operations, with a surveillance radar under the forward fuselage, nose-mounted FLIR and internal sonar buoys. A suite of special crew stations also featured, as did a choice of up to six weapon pylons under the wings and fuselage. The Maritime ATP was later known as the BAe P.132. None were built.


The AEW was a 1986 proposal for an Airborne Early Warning aircraft for Australia, with two EMI Skymaster radars in nose and tail radomes, similar in appearance to the Nimrod AEW.3. None were built.

Operators edit

Sun Air of Scandinavia, a British Airways franchise, in 2006

Current operators edit

As of March 2024, there are 8 airframes in active service, all in Kenya. These 8 airframes had all been placed in storage by their previous operators, West Atlantic Sweden (7 total) and NextJet (Sweden, 1 total). All have been re-introduced to service between March 2018 and February 2024. The rest of the production line is now either in storage (15 total), preserved (4 total), or scrapped. [27]

  • Transafrican Air (5Y-CKV, 5Y-CKX, 5Y-CKW and 5Y-EAF)
  • Encomm Airlines (5Y-GME, 5Y-GMG and 5Y-GMH)
  • Aerospace Consortium (5Y-CKO)

Former operators edit

A British Airways ATP at Dublin Airport in May 1994

Notable accidents and incidents edit

Preserved aircraft edit

As of January 2024, there are six retired airframes that are either preserved or re-purposed. These are as follows:

  • G-11-068: This aircraft was never completed and its fuselage has remained at Glasgow Prestwick Airport since. It is now used as an airport fire training platform.[31]
  • G-11-071: This aircraft was also never completed and was used as a smoke training platform at Woodford Aerodrome. Following the site’s closure, it was re-located to nearby Manchester Airport where it is used for similar purposes. [32]
  • SE-MHF: This aircraft was partially dismantled in 2021 at Isle of Man Airport. It only consists of its fuselage and wings up to the engine mounts. It is used as an airport fire training platform.[33]
  • SE-LHX (displayed as G-MAUD): This aircraft is on display at the Manx Aviation and Military Museum, Isle of Man Airport. It has used various salvaged parts from other scrapped airframes and has been re-stored in an original Manx Airlines livery. It also now bears the registration G-MAUD, although the actual G-MAUD was scrapped. It is the only ATP on display in near-complete condition.[34]
  • PK-DGA: Partially scrapped, the fuselage is currently being used as a restaurant in East Java, Indonesia.[35]

Specifications edit

Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 1988–1989[37]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Four, comprising two pilots and two flight attendants
  • Capacity: 64 passengers
  • Length: 26.00 m (85 ft 4 in)
  • Wingspan: 30.63 m (100 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 7.14 m (23 ft 5 in)
  • Wing area: 78.3 m2 (843 sq ft) [38]
  • Empty weight: 13,595 kg (29,972 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 22,930 kg (50,552 lb)
  • Fuel capacity: 6,364 L (1,400 imp gal; 1,681 US gal)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PW126 turboprops, 1,978 kW (2,653 shp) each
  • Propellers: 6-bladed BAe/Hamilton Standard, 4.19 m (13 ft 9 in) diameter


  • Cruise speed: 496 km/h (308 mph, 268 kn) at 4,575 m (15,000 ft)
  • Range: 1,825 km (1,134 mi, 985 nmi) with 64 passengers
  • Ferry range: 4,070 km (2,530 mi, 2,200 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 7,600 m (25,000 ft) (max operating altitude)[39]

See also edit

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists

References edit

Citations edit

  1. ^ "West Atlantic Ends BAe ATP Flights". March 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e Burton, Lena (6 August 2022). "A Brief History of British Aerospace ATP".
  3. ^ Hodgson 2021, p. 262.
  4. ^ a b c d "Computers push Britain's new jet to its limits". New Scientist. 95 (1322): 693. 9 September 1982. ISSN 0262-4079.
  5. ^ a b c d e f McClennan, J. Mac (November 1986). "BAe ATP maiden flight". Flying. Vol. 113, no. 11. p. 104. ISSN 0015-4806.
  6. ^ a b Warner 2005, p. 62.
  7. ^ a b c "Softly, softly approach to jet design". New Scientist. 101 (1401): 23. 15 March 1984. ISSN 0262-4079.
  8. ^ a b c Cotter, Marion (23 September 1987). "British Aerospace wins ATP order from Wings West". Journal of Commerce Online.
  9. ^ Bagwell and Lyth 2006, p. 176.
  10. ^ "ATR-BAe link rocks Europe". 1 February 1995.
  11. ^ "Prestwick seeks new work after J41 closure". 4 June 1997.
  12. ^ "Modified ATP freighter planned". 11 July 2000.
  13. ^ "West Air/BAE ATP freighter door conversion due by end of year". 24 April 2001.
  14. ^ Warner 2005, pp. 62-63.
  15. ^ Kingsley-Jones, Max (4 September 1996). "Manx takes over BA's 'loss-making' Scottish services".
  16. ^ "Flightline move". 3 April 1996.
  17. ^ "BWA is poised to place order for fleet of new ATPs". 21 May 1997.
  18. ^ "British World takes delivery of ATP QC". 17 September 1997.
  19. ^ "Sun-Air takes ATPs as step to jet power". Flight International. 2 July 1997.
  20. ^ "Sun-Air third ATP". 10 September 1998.
  21. ^ "Expanding Air Europa Express wants to double its ATP fleet". 5 August 1998.
  22. ^ "First ATP prepared for delivery to new Indian cargo operation". 28 February 2006.
  23. ^ Endres, Günter (26 October 2010). "WORLD AIRLINERS: Regional cargo conversions' role reversal".
  24. ^ "British-Aerospace BAe-ATP Production List". Archived from the original on 20 June 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  25. ^ "1980s Turboprop: Which Operators Fly The British Aerospace ATP Today?". 21 March 2022. Retrieved 12 January 2023.
  26. ^ "World Airline Census 2018". Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  27. ^ "British Aerospace BAe ATP Production List".
  28. ^ "Biman Bangladesh introduces ATP". Flight International. Vol. 138, no. 4244. 28 November – 4 December 1990. ISSN 0015-3710. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013.
  29. ^ "Merpati Nusantara ATP crash kills 15 people". 30 April 1997.
  30. ^ "Açores: Acidente com avião da SATA em S. Jorge com 35 mortos, ocorreu há 10 anos" [Azores: SATA plane accident in São Jorge with 35 dead, occurred 10 years ago] (in Portuguese). Visão Online. 11 December 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ Taylor 1988, pp. 283–284
  38. ^ Taylor 1996, p. 262
  39. ^ "Type Certificate Data Sheet No. A27NM: BAE Systems Model ATP: Issue 5" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. 29 July 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2019.

Bibliography edit