Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Silver Airways is set to become the North American launch customer for the ATR -600 series turboprop, after agreeing a $1.1bn deal for up to 50 aircraft.
The two parties signed a letter of intent (LOI) on August 1 which initially covers a firm order for 20 ATR 42-600s plus 30 options, with the carrier having the ability to upgauge to the larger ATR 72-600 should it require more capacity in the future. Silver says the order is the next phase of its strategic development and believes it will help the airline reach its long-term goal of becoming a major US airline.
Deliveries of the first four ATRs will start in the fourth quarter of this year following the receipt of regulatory approvals. The remaining 16 turboprops are planned to arrive by the first quarter of 2020 with all 20 aircraft being lease financed by the airline. The new turboprops, which will be configured with 46 seats in a 2-2 layout offering up to 32in (81cm) pitch, will be used to replace the carrier’s existing fleet of 21 Saab 340B Plus aircraft. Crew training will be undertaken at ATR’s new multi-million-dollar facility in Miami which is equipped with a -600-series full flight simulator.
Jason Bewley, President and CFO of Silver Airways, commented: “Thanks to our incredibly dedicated and hardworking team, this aircraft acquisition is a monumental leap forward for Silver, and will allow us to expand our network with a greater reach across the Caribbean and south-eastern US. Silver is honoured to partner with ATR as its North American launch customer for these technologically advanced aircraft.”
Silver Airways has also announced that it has entered negotiations with Puerto Rico-based Seaborne Airlines to explore commercial cooperation including a potential “combination” to support its goal of becoming a major US airline. Seaborne provides connections throughout the Caribbean from its San Juan hub, while also serving the link between St Croix and St Thomas with the carrier’s seaplane operation.