Cape Air Begins Fleet Renewal With Its First Tecnam Prop
There are few commercial air travel experiences akin to flying in the right seat, or co-pilot’s seat, of a Cape Air Cessna 402 over Massachusetts Bay into Boston Logan.
Travelers best hurry up though, because the experience will disappear in the next several years.
Cape Air accepted the first two of 100 Tecnam P2012 Traveller aircraft earlier in July. The 11-seat prop will eventually replace the 83 Cessna 402s in the fleet of the Hyannis, Massachusetts-based regional carrier — and, sadly, it will also replace passenger rides in the right seat.
However, the Traveller will offer a more comfortable ride to passengers. The aircraft have a larger cabin with more spacious seating, air conditioning, and power and USB ports at every seat, says Cape Air vice-president of marketing Trish Lorino.
The Traveller is only one of the new aircraft that Cape Air aims to renew its fleet with. In 2022, it plans to introduce the all-electric "Alice" by Israel’s Eviation Aircraft.
When Cape Air passengers can begin flying on the Traveller is still, pun intended, up in the air. While European authorities certified the aircraft in December, the airline is still awaiting the US Federal Aviation Administration's signoff.
The first two Cape Air Travellers must wait in Europe — Tecnam is based in Capua, Italy — until the FAA certifies the aircraft before they can fly to the US, says Lorino.
That is a sigh of relief for passengers who want to fly in the right seat on a Cape Air flight. They still have some time, likely a few years, before the Cessnas completely disappear from the carrier's fleet.
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Cape Air is best known for its service to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard (MVY) and Nantucket (ACK) from Boston Logan (BOS). However, in recent years the airline has grown to serve eight additional points in the Northeast. It also has a base for Caribbean services in San Juan (SJU), Midwest flights in St. Louis (STL), Montana routes in Billings (BIL).
The airline began flying to New York JFK from Nantucket on a seasonal basis last October.
American Airlines, JetBlue Airways and United Airlines codeshare with Cape Air on some of its flights, allowing some mileage earning and redemption opportunities.