Silver Airways (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) has announced several strategic developments that will enable its continued growth.
Silver announced a historic agreement by signing a letter of intent to renew and expand its fleet with up to 50 new ATR series aircraft. This is a significant strategic accomplishment for the airline and a transaction valued at up to $1.1 billion. The initial order is for 20 ATR 42-600 aircraft and the agreement also provides Silver the ability to upgauge to the larger series ATR-72-600s. With this deal, Silver becomes the first fully independent U.S. regional airline in more than 20 years to sign a new aircraft deal of this magnitude. The firm 20 aircraft will be lease financed by Silver.
Silver will take delivery of up to four ATRs this year starting in the fourth quarter following receipt of regulatory approvals. Remaining deliveries of the first 20 aircraft are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020. Crew training will be conducted by ATR at its new training facility in Miami, which is home to a new multi-million-dollar investment of a Full Flight Simulator (FFS) for the ATR 72-600 series aircraft.
Concurrent with the announcement of its upgraded fleet, Silver also has named Steven A. Rossum as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective August 7, 2017. Mr. Rossum replaces Sami Teittinen, who has decided to leave Silver for personal reasons. In addition, Jason Bewley, presently Executive Vice President of Commercial and CFO, has been promoted to President and Chief Financial Officer of Silver in recognition of his valuable contribution to bringing the company to this stage of development.
Potential Expansion into the Caribbean
Finally, Silver announced that it has entered into negotiations with Seaborne Airlines to explore commercial cooperation including potentially a combination in support of its long-term goal to become a major U.S. airline. Seaborne is a San Juan, Puerto Rico-based air carrier serving destinations throughout Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other countries in the Caribbean. Seaborne provides connections throughout the Caribbean via the carrier’s hub in San Juan, while also serving as the most critical link between St. Croix and St. Thomas with the carrier’s seaplane operation. Versa Capital is the largest creditor of Seaborne as well as its majority owner.
FAT – Far Eastern AIr Transport (Taipei-Songshan) has officially introduced its first ATR 72-600 (ATR 72-212A) (B-28068, msn 1110, ex Jettime OY-JZA) at a hangar event at Songshan Airport. FAT is planning to start operations soon with new type after CAA certification.
ATR and Taiwan’s Mandarin Airlines, a regional subsidiary of Taiwan’s flag carrier China Airlines, has signed a contract for the purchase of six ATR 72-600s, valued at some $160 million (US).
With the acquisition of these brand new ATR -600s, Mandarin Airlines becomes a new member of the ATR family. The aircraft will operate within Taiwan’s domestic network, featuring the highest standards of passenger comfort and the most advanced technologies. With its new fleet of ATR 72-600s, Mandarin Airlines will benefit from the lowest operating costs among all 70-seat regional aircraft, and will be able to compete in a highly challenging market with cutting-edge and affordable air services.
Besides the contract signing, ATR is also willing to provide engineering and technical support to China Airlines and its subsidiaries to set-up in-house capabilities for ATR heavy maintenance, up to C-checks.
PNG Air on November 7, 2016 announced a $134 million (US) contract for the firm purchase of five ATR 72-600s. The deal represents the conversion into firm orders of five options from a previous deal.
Formerly known as Airlines PNG, PNG Air signed for a total of six firm ATR 72-600s and 14 options in 2014. They started operating their first ATR 72-600 in November 2015. Today, the airline operates four ATR 72-600s and will receive the fifth aircraft before the end of this year.
The five new ATR 72-600 aircraft plus an additional one on lease will bring the total ATR fleet to 12 when the last aircraft is delivered in 2022.
The airline is currently undergoing a major transformation plan, with an ambitious fleet renewal and rebranding and a new business strategy focused on the domestic market.
Airlines PNG (Port Moresby) is rebranding as PNG Air with the delivery of the first new ATR 72-600. The company is replacing its older de Havilland Canada DHC-8-100 Dash 8 fleet with the new ATRs and has taken the opportunity to change its image.
According to the airline’s Chairman Murray Woo, “The Company’s capital was restructured so that the Company is now unambiguously PNG owned and a permanent part of the country’s infrastructure and economy. The decision was made to re-fleet with the ATR 72-600, meaning the airline will be the only carrier in the country servicing all major ports in the domestic market with new, efficient, highly reliable, state of the art aircraft. That will allow the airline for the first time to offer what is clearly the premium product on domestic routes.
We expect to have 3 brand new ATRs operating by February 2016 and 7 by December 2017. After that the plan is to replace all our Dash 8s and become a 100% ATR operator by 2020. The ATR is the only aircraft currently in production that can fly to all major ports in PNG. ATR have invested heavily to make their product by far the most widely chosen regional turboprop aircraft around the world.”
The company also commented on the decision to rebrand:
“The Board has also taken the decision to rebrand the airline, to reinvigorate its image. Re-fleeting gives the Company this opportunity, as a fleet of new, larger and more comfortable aircraft will improve public perception of the airline’s safety and service. Rebranding will reinforce that the airline is offering something new and genuinely improved. A new appearance will also emphasise improvements in the airline’s service culture.”
Copyright Photo: Eurospot. The pictured ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-600) F-WWEQ (msn 1287) will become P2-ATR on delivery. It displays the new brand.
ATR (Toulouse) has obtained European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for its passenger-cargo “combi” version of the ATR 72-600. The new cabin configuration of the aircraft allows combining increased cargo volume for over 19 m3 in volume and nearly 3,000 kg in weight with up to 44 passenger seats section. By replacing the forward seven rows by a cargo section which can accommodate four containers, the aircraft load-carrying capacity can be almost doubled. The combi version design is also offered for retrofit on the existing aircraft.
The delivery of the first unit is scheduled to take place before the end of the year to Airlines PNG of Papua New Guinea. Airlines PNG will take eight aircraft in a “combi” configuration.
Binter Canarias (Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain) took delivery on September 16 in Toulouse of the first of 12 70-seat ATR 72-600s ordered through two different contracts signed in 2014 and earlier this year. With the introduction of these new ATR 72-600s series’ aircraft the airline will progressively upgrade its current fleet, consisting of 16 ATR 72-500s. Binter, which is a long-standing ATR operator, has progressively developed its regional network over the Canary Islands with ATR aircraft since 1989.
Photo: ATR. ATR 72-212A (marketed as the ATR 72-600) F-WWEG (msn 1278) became EC-MIF on delivery.