ATR is a result of a cooperation between French Aerospatiale and Italian Aeritalia (today Alenia) in 1981. The aim was a turboprop aircraft for 40 passengers. The fuselage and the tail were constructed in Italy, wings and final production were task of the French. On August 16th 1984 the first ATR42-300 took off, the beginning of a career to the most successful regional turboprop of the world. The 48-seated aircraft has Pratt&Whitney PW120 engines. Launching customer Air Littoral got its first aircraft in December 1985.
Version -300 was followed by Version -320. It has more powerful engines. (PW121) In 1993, over 250 ATR 42 were already in service all over the world and the new version ATR42-500 was presented. The most conspicious novelty was the six-blade propeller, driven by PW127. As a result of this, range and speed could be improved and the noise level was decreased. The flight deck was worked over, too. In 1995 the first delivery to Air Dolomiti took place.
Meanwhile over 300 ATR 42 are in service. Largest customer is Simmons, flying for American Eagle. Especially in the USA the ATR 42 is very popular as a shuttle. But also small airlines, for example in Africa, use the ATR 42, often with only one aircraft in fleet.