Bahamasair, the national flag carrier of the Bahamas, has taken delivery of its first ATR 72-600.
The airline placed an order for two ATR 72-600s and three ATR 42-600s at the Paris Air Show in June 2015.
With the arrival of its first ATR 72-600, Bahamasair becomes a new operator of ATR regional airliners.
The introduction of the new ATR 600-series turboprop aircraft will enable Bahamasair to upgrade and modernize its regional aircraft fleet, both on regional and domestic routes, according to ATR.
ATR also says partial replacement by Bahamasair of its former regional aircraft fleet with ATR 72-600s will also provide additional seat capacity on some of its higher-traffic routes to and from Nassau.
“The strong commonality between the 50-seat ATR 42s and the 70-seat ATR 72s is an important asset, as it will enable us to propose flexible capacity and optimized operating costs,” says Valentine Grimes, chairman of Bahamasair.
Adds Grimes: “The ability of the ATR aircraft to take-off and land on short runways and to operate at small airfields, coupled with their most modern technologies and passenger appeal, are among the main reasons of our choice.”
Patrick de Castelbajac, ATR’s chief executive officer, notes: “Our aircraft are particularly popular in the island environments where they are operated, as they are a necessary link to population and a key factor of tourism and business development.”
Today, ATR regional aircraft are operated by carriers in many island environments, including the Caribbean region, French Polynesia and the South Pacific, the Philippines, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Indonesia and the Indian Ocean.
Some 180 ATR regional turboprops are now operated in the Latin American and Caribbean region, whereas only 70 were operated in the region in 2005.
Bahamasair operates a route network linking 13 domestic and six international destinations. It will use its ATR 72s primarily on high-density routes with connections to Florida.
Overall, Bahamasair’s new ATR fleet will allow the airline to operate a more flexible international schedule and charter services, according to ATR.