Bahamasair, the national flag carrier of the Bahamas, has taken delivery of its first ATR 72-600.
The airline and ATR inked a deal for two ATR 72-600s and three ATR 42-600s at the last Paris Air Show. With the arrival of this new aircraft, Bahamasair becomes a new operator of ATR. The introduction of these brand new ATR ‘-600s’ will enable Bahamasair to upgrade and modernize its regional aircraft fleet, both on regional and domestic routes. The partial replacement of the airlines’ former regional aircraft fleet with ATR 72-600s will also provide additional seat capacity on some main routes to and from Nassau.
Commenting on the arrival of the first ATR aircraft for the airline, Valentine Grimes, Chairman of Bahamasair, declared: “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. We are pleased to introduce an aircraft that has clearly proven worldwide that it perfectly fits the operational needs of airlines flying in island environments. 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”. He concluded: “We are glad to welcome our first brand new ATR and become a member of the ATR family”.
Patrick de Castelbajac, ATR Chief Executive Officer, declared: “Indeed, the ATR aircraft have succeeded for years as the reference for inter-island regional flights. 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. We are pleased to welcome Bahamasair among our list of customers”.
Today, ATRs successfully fly in many island environments, including the Caribbean region, French Polynesia and the South Pacific, the Philippines, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Indonesia or the Indian Ocean.
As of today, some 180 ATR are operated in the Latin American and the Caribbean, an outstanding increase within the last decade (70 aircraft in operation in 2005).
Bahamasair was established in 1973 as a product of a newly established Independent Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The mandate was to provide a safe and reliable mode of air transportation throughout the archipelagic nation and internationally. The National Flag carrier’s purpose was to provide an ‘Essential Service’ bridging Nassau, the nation’s capital and the remote ‘Family of Islands’. Bahamasair currently operates a route network of thirteen domestic and six international destinations. The larger ATR 72 will be used primarily on the high density routes with connections to Florida, and will allow a more flexible international schedule and charter services.