Tecnam expects Cape Air to sign a deal for 100 or more 11-seat P2012 Travellers in October or November, says chief executive Paolo Langer.

The US regional carrier plans to take 10 aircraft annually once deliveries begin in 2019, he says at the AirVenture Oshkosh show on 25 July. The airline will use the twin-piston P2012 to replace its fleet of aging nine-seat Cessna 402s.

Certification by European and American regulators remains on track for 2018 and entry into service in 2019, says Langer.

Tecnam opened negotiations with Cape Air in November 2016, following a demonstration flight with Cape Air Dan Wolf at the controls, he says.

The Italian manufacturer has recorded 150 flight hours on the first P2012 prototype. Flight testing will accelerate when the second aircraft -- and first production-conforming model -- enters flight testing in September or October, Langer says. Assembly of the second aircraft finished last week.

The design has evolved slightly since first flight. Tecnam has increased the thrust rating of the Lycoming IE2 engines to 375hp, slightly more than the original design with 350hp. The engines are designed with electronic controls, so the thrust upgrade was achieved with a software change, Langer says.

The additional thrust allowed Tecnam to increase the maximum takeoff weight by 300kg, accommodating an increase in empty weight and more payload capacity, he says.

Source: Cirium Dashboard