The ATR 72 was developed from the ATR 42 to increase the seating capacity to 78 by stretching the fuselage by 15 ft, increasing the wingspan, adding more powerful engines, and increasing fuel capacity by approximately 10 percent. The 72-212 was announced in 1986, and made its maiden flight on 27 October 1988. Exactly one year after that, on 27 October 1989, Finnair became the first airline to put the plane into service. Since then, at least 408 ATR 72s have been delivered worldwide with orders pending on at least 28 more.
Passengers are boarded using the rear door (which is rare for a passenger plane) as the front door is used to load cargo.
A tail stand must be installed when passengers are boarding or disembarking in case the nose lifts off the ground, which is common for aircrafts to be loaded correctly.