Sidney residents can expect new things from local air service provider Cape Air, as they revealed plans to roll out their new carriers, the Tecnam P2012 Traveller. Cape Air Senior Vice President of Planning Andrew Bonney informed a group of citizens about the new plane and airline during a presentation at the golf course Wednesday, July 10.
“For five consecutive years, the air service here has worked really well with Cape Air,” Bonney said.
Cape Air is eager to offer the new aircraft to their passengers and are expecting to make the shift next year.
“This is the aircraft you get after you spend 30 years running nine-passenger commuter service and you have a huge laundry list of improvements you’d like to make,” Bonney said. “We developed this aircraft with Tecnam, so they have all of our best practices, all of our lessons learned.”
Bonney said the new aircraft boasts two engines for safety, an incremental seat, meaning there are nine passenger seats and two pilot seats in the cockpit. Two pilots are not required for the aircraft, however. The new plane has air conditioning and an update heating system.
“What’s really important out here is it has the most modern aviation heating system there is,” Bonney said. “Two cabin heaters and an electronic windshield defrost. From a passenger comfort standpoint, this is going to be a huge advancement and really the most comfortable commuter aircraft that’s out there in the world.”
The cabin also boasts LED lighting, USB ports, a glass cockpit, Italian leather seats and huge windows.
“The sightseeing is going to be great in this aircraft,” Bonney said. “It’s a high wing, so you have great visibility.
“We’re really, really excited about this airplane. We think it’s going to be a great welcome mat for your community when people are coming in here for the first time, arriving in Sidney in style.”
Bonney said because of better seals and sound absorbing materials, plane rides will be a little more audibly comfortable as well.
The first three planes are expected to arrive in the U.S. next week and will be ferried over to Sidney after that. The use of the aircraft will be pending some crew training after it arrives, but Cape Air expects to have eight on site by the end of 2020.
Cape Air is currently awaiting renewal of their contract for service in Montana. The new contract will begin Jan. 1, 2020, and run for four more years. Cape Air services Montana under the Essential Air Service (EAS) program, a federal program that ensures smaller communities a link to the National Air Transportation System. The program provides subsidies, which allows Cape Air to keep ticket prices at an affordable level. To be eligible for EAS, a community must maintain an average of 10 enplanements or more per service day and be more than 175 driving miles from the nearest large- or medium-hub airport. A community must also have an average subsidy per passenger of less than $1,000 during the most recent fiscal year.