LIAT acquires new plane
ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Jun 13, – The financially strapped regional airline, LIAT, today announced it had taken possession of an ATR 72-600 aircraft as it upgrades its aging fleet.
The airline said the French-manufactured ATR is being leased from the lessor GECAS (GE Capital Aviation Services) and “is the first of a total of eight ATRs -four 68-seat ATR 72-600 and four 48-seat ATR 42-600s- that will be introduced into LIAT’s fleet.
“The introduction of these brand new ATR -600s in LIAT’s current fleet of 14 aircraft is a part of the airline’s restructuring plans aiming at fleet modernization and network improvements. By progressively replacing its current fleet of former turboprop aircraft with the modern and fuel efficient ATRs, the airline will significantly reduce operating and maintenance costs, gain further in profitability and offer more comfort to its passengers due to its enhanced seats design,” the airline said in a statement.
At the moment, the Antigua-based carrier has a fleet of 18 Dash-8 aircraft, with 15 that have a seating capacity of 50 and three 37-seater planes.
LIAT, which flies to 21 destinations in the Caribbean, has put a price tag of US$100 million on the re-fleeting exercise and said it is seeking to borrow between US$60 and US$70 million from the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). (CMC)