Cape Air focused on Cessna replacement

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Massachusetts-based Cape Air is focused on finding a replacement for its fleet of nine-seat Cessna 402s, says president Linda Markham.

The regional carrier continues to hold talks with Italy-based Tecnam regarding the OEM's proposed up to 11-seat P2012 Global Traveller, she says at the Regional Airline Association (RAA) annual conference in Montreal today. However, it is also in talks with other manufacturers, including Cessna and Reims, she says.

Markham says that Cape Air hopes to identify the replacement for its 70 Cessna 402s in the "next few years".

Cape Air will add Britten-Norman BN2 Islanders this year, even as its search for a Cessna replacement continues. Markham says that the aircraft will be used for new flights from its base at San Juan's Luis Munoz Marin International airport to Culebra and Virgin Gorda. They could also be used for service to Block Island, Rhode Island, she adds.

The Islanders will arrive in July and scheduled services will begin in December, she says.

The aircraft are needed for operations on the airports' short runways. Block Island has a 763m (2,502ft) runway, Culebra a 792m runway and Virgin Gorda a 945m runway.

Cape Air also operates two ATR 42-300s, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database.

The ATR 42s operate from a base at Guam International airport under a prorate agreement with United Airlines. Markham says that Cape Air is in talks with United regarding renewing the agreement, however, the mainline carrier is pushing for a capacity purchase agreement (CPA).

"[United] would like all of their express carriers [to operate under] CPAs," she says.

Cape Air codeshares with JetBlue Airways on its New England operation.