Colombian carrier Aires has joined the list of operators of the Bombardier Q400 regional airliner, celebrating its new fleet type with a launch event in Bogota.
In taking delivery of four previously owned 78-seat Q400 turboprops from South Korea’s Jeju Air, the carrier has become the first operator of the Bombardier Q400 in South America. Aires actually began operating the Q400 during the summer.
Founded in 1981, Aires serves 22 domestic and four international destinations. The airline’s fleet also includes 11 37-passenger Dash 8/Q200 turboprops, as well as nine Boeing 737-700s.
“The first Dash 8 turboprop was introduced into our fleet in 1994, and Bombardier’s Dash 8-100, Q200 and Q300 aircraft have been very good for us,” says Francisco Mendez, chief executive officer of Aires. “With our requirement for additional seating capacity, we decided that our fleet should remain largely based on Bombardier aircraft with our acquisition of the Q400 turboprop.”
“We welcome Aires as the newest operator of the Q400 airliner and the first on the South American continent,” says Gary Scott, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “The Q400 turboprop airliner is ideally suited to the short- and medium-haul routes in Aires’ network and will offer the airline outstanding performance and economics with a reduced environmental impact.”
Bombardier has booked firm orders for a total of 391 Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft, and as of July 31, 2010, 312 had been delivered. The aircraft are in service with more than 30 operators worldwide and have logged more than 2 million flight hours and more than 2 million landing and take-off cycles.