Florida-based regional carrier Silver Airways has become the
first U.S. airline to incorporate the ATR-600 regional jet into its fleet.
Silver first flew the new jet, outfitted with 46 seats, on
its scheduled Monday-morning flight from Fort Lauderdale to Key West.
The flight was the first step in a major transformation for
the airline, which until now has solely flown a twin-propeller fleet of 34-seat Saab
aircraft. Silver has thus far taken delivery of three out of an initial order
of 20 ATR 600s and expects to receive five more this year and to have all 20 in
service by the end of next year. The order is split between 46-seat and 70-seat
versions of the ATR 600.
The jet aircraft, which is purpose-built for short- and
medium-haul flying, will allow Silver to offer quicker flights.
"The state-of-the art aircraft allows for a safe,
highly reliable and efficient fleet operation and a superior overall experience
for our guests," Silver CEO Steve Rossum said in a prepared remark.
Silver currently operates approximately 125 daily flights to
18 destinations in Florida and the Bahamas. The carrier also flies between
Boston and Bar Harbor, Maine.
ATR is partially owned by Airbus and is based in Airbus'
home city of Toulouse, France.
Silver, which also owns Caribbean carrier Seaborne Airlines,
has an option on 30 additional ATR 600s. The carrier has outfitted its 46-seat
ATRs in a 2-2 configuration with as much as 32 inches between rows, which is
more than can be found on many mainline domestic aircraft. Silver said the
aircraft also have spacious overhead bins and larger lavatories than is typical
of regional aircraft.