LIAT invests in new aircraft

LIAT’s new ATR 72-600 aircraft.
© ATR / Barthe Pierre
© ATR / Barthe Pierre

The financially-strapped regional airline LIAT is spending US$100 million in a re-fleeting exercise.

The airline said the French-manufactured ATR is being leased from the lessor GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS).

The airline said in a statement: “The introduction of these brand new ATR-600s in LIAT’s current fleet of 14 aircraft is a part restructuring plans aiming at fleet modernization and network improvements.”

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.

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 million and US$70 million from the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

The airline last December unveiled a new business plan it said would help reverse and EC$34 million loss in 2011 while projecting a two percent profit in 2013.

The LIAT statement said the line-up of the full new generation ATR model range will allow LIAT to optimize their fleet on their pan-Caribbean network with aircraft of one same family, offering both 50-and 70-seat capacity.

LIAT said the new ATR 72-600 should be in service before the end of the month with the remaining aircraft expected for delivery during 2013 and 2014.

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