Caribbean Airlines has issued a stark signal of intent, ordering nine ATR 72-600 regional turboprops at a total value of US$200 million.
The news comes as the flag-carrier of Trinidad & Tobago seeks to consolidate its position in the Caribbean following the acquisition of Air Jamaica.
“In the last months we have experienced a strong commercial success in the Americas, which has represented almost 50 per cent of our order intakes in 2010,” said Filippo Bagnato, chief executive officer of ATR.
“The growing economies of the region are strongly developing their regional connectivity.
“Our ATR aircraft are optimally positioned to answer to their needs by providing unrivalled performances on routes under 400 nautical miles, both in terms of operating costs and environmental impact.
“Also, the ATR aircraft provide the right answer to the increasing demands in terms of passenger comfort level.”
The deal follows a Memorandum of Understanding announced in September 2010 and will make the airline a new operator of ATR regional aircraft.
Deliveries of ATR 72-600s to Caribbean Airlines will start in October 2011. According to Franco-Italian group ATR the aircraft will be configured with 68 seats.
Caribbean Airlines will use its new ATR 72-600s to replace its current fleet of five Bombardier Dash 8-300 turboprops on domestic routes, and add new service frequencies linking Trinidad and Tobago and surrounding destinations.
In addition, some of the new ATRs will be operated on the network of Air Jamaica, recently acquired by Caribbean Airlines.
Last year the airline was recognised by the World Travel Awards as the Caribbean’s Leading Airline.