Antigua-headquartered regional airline LIAT Limited has started its fleet upgrade with delivery on June 13 of the first of eight new ATR 600-series turboprop regional airliners.
This aircraft, the first ATR regional airliner in LIAT’s fleet, is an ATR 72-600 which the airline is leasing from GE Capital Aviation Services. LIAT will introduce a total of eight ATRs (four 68-seat ATR 72-600s and four 48-seat ATR 42-600s) into its fleet.
The introduction of the new ATR 600-series regional airliners in LIAT’s current fleet of 14 aircraft forms part of the airline’s restructuring plans, which aim to produce fleet modernization and network improvements.
By progressively replacing its current fleet of Bombardier turboprop aircraft with the new ATR 600-series regional airliners, the airline expects to reduce operating and maintenance costs significantly, become more profitable and offer more comfort to passengers due to the ATR turboprops’ enhanced passenger-seat design, according to ATR.
Operating both new-generation ATR -600 models will help LIAT optimize its fleet for its pan-Caribbean network with aircraft of one family, offering both 50- and 70-seat capacity.
“LIAT currently connects 21 destinations throughout the Caribbean with most routes under 100nm (185km), like Grenada to Trinidad, or Dominica to Antigua,” says Ian Brunton, chief executive officer of LIAT. “The 68-seat ATR 72-600s are perfectly adapted to many of our existing and potential routes.”
Brunton adds: “By renewing our fleet our customers will enjoy more efficiency and a 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.”
According to ATR, LIAT expects to anticipated put its first ATR 72-600 into service before the end of June, with the remaining aircraft expected for delivery during 2013 and 2014.
ATR 600-series aircraft suit the requirements of many airlines operating inter-island flights. Today, ATRs fly in many island environments, including the Caribbean, French Polynesia and the South Pacific, the Philippines, the Canary Islands, Indonesia and Malaysia.
A long-established Caribbean carrier, LIAT is owned by regional shareholders. Its major shareholders are the governments of Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
LIAT’s network covers most of the Caribbean countries, from the Dominican Republic in the north to Guyana in the south. LIAT serves 21 destinations including two French islands, Guadeloupe and Martinique; two Spanish-speaking destinations, Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico; the Dutch island of Curaçao and the unique French-and-Dutch island of St. Martin/St. Maarten.
More information about LIAT may be found at www.liat.com.