Belize-based Tropic Air intends to introduce new flights to Honduras and Guatemala within the next 12 months.

Carrier chief executive Steve Schulte tells ATI at the 2010 ALTA leadership forum the carrier has already started the process to gain authority to launch service to Honduras, and is examining option for acquiring larger, twin engine turboprops for new service to Honduras.

Tropic Air is planning an expansion of its Cessna 208 fleet, which currently stands at seven, according to the Flightglobal ACAS database . The carrier on 17 November took delivery of a new aircraft to replace another it recently sold, and plans to add two additional Cessnas by the fall of 2011.

Schulte says Tropic Air should reach record passenger numbers it recorded in 2008 beginning this month and continuing through October 2011, after the number of passengers the airline carried fell 15%-16% during the first few months of 2009.

The timing of the recession actually helped Tropic Air, he says, as most tourists to Belize plan their vacations a significant amount ahead of time. He also states a large number of condo owners with properties in Belize continued to travel during the recession.

Schulte reveals that Tropic Air intends to apply for ALTA membership after the conference.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news