New England-based Cape Air is something of a unique airline. Based in Massachusetts this airline flies 83 Cessna 402s. But it is an airline not limited to this region. It flies two ATR42 in Micronesia, operates two Cessna Caravans in Florida and four Britten-Norman Islanders in the Caribbean in winter, bringing them to New England for the4 summer. It has codeshare deals with American, jetBlue and United. It also operates Essential Air Service flights. One can see why this is something of a unique operation. The airline is the largest independent regional.
The core of the airline are its nine-seater 402s. The last 402 was built in 1987. Cape Air is, by far, the largest 402 operator. But as one can imagine, the 402 is aging. Given the ATR42 experience, we had thought ATR had a lead on the 402 replacement, even if it is a much larger aircraft.
So it is interesting to see they have may have started a fleet refresh with Tecnam. The new aircraft seats 11 and uses piston engines, like the 402. While “formal delivery negotiations” are being discussed, the airline has not announced any dates or deals. We expect news soon.