The BAe ATP Cargo is a short range cargo aircraft capable of transporting 8,200 kg via an internal pallet system. Cargo pallets require a high-loader to access its main deck.
The airframe of the HS 748 was redesigned with a lengthened 26.01 metres (85.3 ft) fuselage and a 30.62 metres (100.5 ft) wing span. Minor modifications were made to the nose and tail shapes; and smaller windows on a shorter pitch than the 748’s were used. The 748’s twin Rolls-Royce Dart engines were replaced with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW126 fuel efficient engines. A custom-designed, slow-turning, six-blade propeller was developed by Hamilton Standard.
The aircraft first flew in August 1986 and entered service with British Midland in 1988. The type has an advanced electronic flight instrument system flight deck, and has a good short-field performance. In addition to these virtues, it is also very quiet upon take off. The only U.S. operator of the ATP in scheduled passenger service was Air Wisconsin flying as United Express on behalf of United Airlines via a code sharing agreement.
In total 65 aircraft were assembled and flown at BAe’s Woodford and Prestwick facilities with the manufacture of the airframe and wings undertaken at Chadderton. Production ended at Prestwick in 1996. The ATP can accommodate between 64 and 72 passengers depending on the seat configuration.
In 2001 the ATP Freighter project allowed six ATPs to be converted into cargo aircraft for West Air Sweden. Using a modification of the HS 748 freight door, the ATPF can carry 30% more cargo than its predecessor with a 10% increase in running costs. The ATPF made its first flight from West Air Sweden’s facility in Lidköping on 10 July 2002.
As of December 2018, 20 aircraft remain in commercial service as cargo aircraft with West Air Sweden, Deraya and EnComm.
Aircraft with similar capabilities are: ATR72, De Havilland Canada Dash 8, Ilyushin IL-114, Saab 2000.