ATR booked sales for 236 aircraft in 2011, comprising 157 firm orders and 79 options, in a record-breaking year, giving it a dominant position in the 50- to 90-seat regional aircraft market. It reports firm sales for 13 ATR 42s and 144 ATR 72s.

Four undisclosed customers booked 41 aircraft and at least two of these orders will be formally announced at the Singapore Airshow next month, CEO Filippo Bagnato said at a Wednesday briefing in Paris. ATR delivered 54 planes (compared to 51 in 2010) and had total revenue of $1.3 billion.

The turboprop manufacturer’s backlog at year end stood at a record high of 224 aircraft (compared to 159 in 2010 and 195 in 2007, its previous record year), which ensures three years of production and takes into account this year’s production ramp-up. Production will increase to 72 this year, to “at least” 80 in 2013 and at least 85 in 2014, according to Bagnato. With the ramp-up of its delivery schedules, ATR should see its turnover reach $2 billion in the near future.

The Toulouse-based manufacturer will reach another milestone May 3 when it hands over its 1,000th aircraft.

The backlog has been adjusted for the orders of financially struggling Kingfisher Airlines. Bagnato said ATR decided to cancel Kingfisher’s 38 aircraft following the carrier’s failure to make the pre-delivery payments.

Bagnato described 2011 as “exceptional year for ATR for many reasons,” foremost because the fact that the manufacturer, which is 50% owned by EADS and 50% by Finmeccanica Group, became the “new reference” in the 50- to 90-seat regional aircraft segment. ATR booked more than 80% of all sales in this segment last year and “holds 70% of the order book [jets holds 23% and Bombardier has a 7% market share with its turboprop families]. This success was borne of a continuous improvement policy, economic performance and the comfort of our airplanes. Today, this success has led to a remarkable change in the perception of our turboprop aircraft amongst regional airlines and their passengers,” Bagnato said.

Commenting on his outlook for 2012, Bagnato said he preferred to remain cautious and “ideally, I like to achieve a similar backlog to the one of today.”

The company will stop production of the -500 series this year and start discussing the launch of a larger model version with its shareholders this year, Bagnato said while stressing that “no decision should be expected soon.”

The ATR 72-600 upgrade was certified in May 2011. ATR aims to have the ATR 42-600 certified by mid-spring with entry into service in August.

Bagnato confirmed the company raised its list prices 3% this year to $23.4 million for the ATR 72-600 and €19.5 million for the smaller ATR 42-600.