Regional airline LIAT has started its fleet upgrade with the first new ATR 72-600 aircraft delivered Thursday.
This first ATR in LIAT’s fleet is being leased from the lessor GECAS (GE Capital Aviation Services), the airline said.
This is the first of eight ATRs — four 68-seat ATR 72-600 and four 48-seat ATR 42-600s — that will be introduced into LIAT’s fleet.
The introduction of these brand new ATR -600s in LIAT’s current fleet of 14 aircraft is a part of the airline’s restructuring plans aiming at fleet modernization and network improvements.
By progressively replacing its current fleet of former turboprop aircraft with the modern and fuel efficient ATRs, the airline will significantly reduce operating and maintenance costs, gain further in profitability and offer more comfort to its passengers due to its enhanced seats design, LIAT said.
The line-up of the full new generation ATR model range will allow LIAT to optimize their fleet on their pan-Caribbean network with aircraft of one same family, offering both 50 and 70 seat capacity.
“LIAT currently connects 21 destinations throughout the Caribbean with most routes under 100 nautical miles, like Grenada to Trinidad, or Dominica to Antigua. The 68-seat ATR 72-600s are perfectly adapted to many of our existing and potential routes,” Ian Brunton, Chief Executive Officer of LIAT said.
“By renewing our fleet our customers will enjoy more efficiency and better travel experience. The ATR 72-600 perfectly fits with our requirements in terms of low operating costs, most updated technologies and optimal comfort. This is the most-recently certified turboprop aircraft on the market, and we are proud to start our operations with such a modern, successful and well-reputed aircraft”.
It is anticipated that the first ATR 72-600 would be pressed into service before the end of June, with the remaining aircraft expected for delivery during 2013 and 2014.
Filippo Bagnato, chief executive officer of ATR, said, “The delivery of the very first ATR 72-600 to LIAT marks continued development for ATR in the Caribbean region and is an important milestone. Today LIAT joins a group of world-class airlines that are redefining on-board comfort and achieving an unrivalled level of cost efficiency. With the new ATR -600s, LIAT carries on its approach of continuous improvement and meeting the challenging strong growth in air travel in the Caribbean region in the most cost-effective way possible.”
The ATR -600 series aircraft perfectly match the requirements of the airlines operating inter-island flights. ATRs successfully fly in many island environments, including the Caribbean, French Polynesia and the South Pacific, the Philippines, the Canary Islands, Indonesia and Malaysia, LIAT further said in a statement.
- Passenger capacity: 68-74 seats
- Engines: Pratt & Whitney Canada PW 127M
- Maximum power at take-off: 2,750 horse power per engine
- Maximum weight at take-off: 23,000 Kg
- Maximum payload: 7,500 Kg
- Range with full passenger load: 900 nautical miles (1,665 Km)