Independent regional airline Silver Airways on Wednesday landed its first of four new ATR-600 series aircraft at its Caribbean hub at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.
The carrier acquired Seaborne Airlines in 2018, and with the introduction of the ATR-600 series aircraft specifically designed for short-haul markets, it will replace that fleet by summer, company executives said.
Silver Airways is scheduled to launch a total of four aircraft, including an ATR 42-600 in April, another in June and another in July.
The first larger ATR 72-600 aircraft — which accommodates 70 passengers — that arrived and was “christened” at the LMM airport will add 32,504 new seats and represents an economic benefit for Puerto Rico of more than $4.6 million in a year, said Carla Campos, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co.
Over the past year, Silver Airways has undergone a complete operational, fleet and customer service transformation and in doing so is reinventing the regional flying sector.
“This is an exciting time for Silver Airways and regional airline flying as we continue our fleet transformation and focus on providing the highest level of safe, reliable and customer-friendly service,” said Silver Airways CEO Steve Rossum.
“Starting operations of the new ATR 72-600 aircraft in the Caribbean from our San Juan gateway is another great milestone for Silver Airways, ATR, our customers, our airline partners, the communities we serve and our team members,” he said.
Jesús Medina, COO of Silver Airways in Puerto Rico, said the plan is to add new destinations its Luis Muñoz Marín hub, “so that we continue to grow to other nearby islands. The ATR-600 is a very comfortable aircraft.”
He refrained from disclosing the new destinations that may be added but confirmed it will be in the Caribbean.
“We’ll continue to grow, hand-in-hand with [LMM airport operator] Aerostar and our codeshare partners Delta, United, American Airlines and Copa,” he said.
Campos said the use of the ATR-600 series in Silver Airways’ Caribbean flight network strengthens Puerto Rico’s position as the main air access hub in the region.
“Promoting new air access options, the creation of new routes and increasing flight frequency availability is a priority for Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez and part of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company’s strategies to maximize the potential of the travel and tourism industry and to continue positioning the Island as a world-class destination,” said Campos.
The remaining four aircraft to be introduced by fly as follows:
- On April 5, Silver will introduce an ATR 42-600, which has a capacity for 46 passengers, on the following routes: San Juan – St. Croix, St. Croix – St. Thomas, St. Thomas – San Juan, St. Croix – San Juan, St. Kitts – San Juan, San Juan – Tortola, Tortola – San Juan, San Juan – St. Kitts.
- On June 5, Silver will introduce an ATR 42-600, on the following routes: Dominica – San Juan, San Juan – Santiago, Dominican Republic, Santiago, Dominican Republic – San Juan, San Juan – St. Maarten, St. Maarten – San Juan, San Juan – Dominica.
- On July 5, Silver will introduce an ATR 42-600, on the following routes: San Juan – St. Croix, St. Croix – St. Thomas, St. Thomas – San Juan, St. Kitts – San Juan, San Juan – Anguilla, Anguilla – San Juan, San Juan – Antigua, Antigua – San Juan, San Juan – St. Croix, St. Croix – St. Thomas, St. Thomas – San Juan, San Juan – St. Kitts.
To date, Silver Airways has taken delivery of its first 10 of up to 50 ATR-600s, including seven ATR 42-600s and three ATR 72-600s. Future ATR-600 deliveries will be comprised of both ATR 42-600s and ATR 72-600s, the company said.