SeaPort Airlines announced today that it will take delivery of two of three new Cessna Caravans being acquired for the company’s fleet by the end of the year. SeaPort’s Chief Executive Officer, Rob McKinney, will accept the new aircraft at the Cessna Aircraft Corporation factory in Wichita, Kansas and will pilot one of the new aircraft on a three-day tour of the carrier’s Mid-South routes.
“These brand new aircraft demonstrate SeaPort’s commitment to, and our investment in, creation of a next-generation regional airline that ensures smaller cities maintain connectivity with the national air transportation system and global economy, as well as restore service on local commuter routes with proven demand that have been abandoned by large carriers,” said Rob McKinney.
SeaPort Airlines expects to take delivery of the third new aircraft in December. The aircraft are being delivered under an operating lease agreement between SeaPort Airlines and Residco Bank.
Over 2,700 Cessna Caravans have been delivered to customers in all corners of the world. Cessna has continuously enhanced the Caravan since the first delivery over 25 years ago and the “Cessna Caravan EX” version being delivered to SeaPort are equipped with a larger PT-6 turboprop engine that provides increased payload capability, faster rate of climb, and higher cruise speeds.
The aircraft are also equipped with the all-glass Garmin G1000 avionics suite which incorporates Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) that includes topographical displays of terrain, visualization of other air traffic, and real-time data from both aircraft and engine that improves situational awareness and trend monitoring to facilitate pre-emptive maintenance that reduces flight delays and cancellations attributable to mechanical issues. Further benefits of the Garmin 1000 include an advanced autopilot system that can perform virtually all pilot actions from climb-out through final descent and reduces pilot workload with precise vertical and horizontal guidance. These capabilities will result in higher flight completion rates, even during the most challenging weather conditions, as well as enhanced levels of safety and comfort.
The new aircraft are being delivered with TKS anti-ice/de-ice systems that exude glycol-based fluid through laser drilled holes on the leading edge of the wing and other critical surfaces. The fluid prevents precipitation from adhering the aircraft, further enhancing both safety and operational reliability.
The airline believes that improved reliability and lower maintenance costs of the new aircraft will result in greater support for local air service, and enable it to continue offering affordable fares that provide customers with meaningful savings at their local airport compared to other transportation options, including driving or flying from other airports in the region.
The three new Cessna Caravans join SeaPort’s existing fleet of 13 Caravans that operate in all Lower 48 routes, as well as two Juneau-based Caravans that can be quickly changed from passenger to cargo configurations. Early in 2014, SeaPort retired the last remaining Pilatus PC-12 from its fleet resulting in a Lower 48 fleet standardized with the Cessna Caravan. Fleet standardization often results in lower operating costs, high dispatch reliability, customer comfort, and other operational efficiencies.
The three new aircraft will initially be positioned at Memphis International Airport which serves as the base of operation for SeaPort’s Mid-South route system. Markets served include Tupelo, Mississippi, where SeaPort launched service on October 27, as well as Muscle Shoals, Alabama and Greenville, Mississippi, where SeaPort will launch service on January 12, 2014.
Furthering execution of its plan, in early 2014 SeaPort became the first airline in North America to be fully-hosted on the Amadeus Altea reservation platform. Altea provides SeaPort with distribution, interline ticketing, e-commerce, and customer service capabilities equal to, and in some case better than, the largest airlines in the world. SeaPort currently has an interline agreement with Alaska Airlines, that allows customers to purchase a single ticket and check baggage through to their final destination. Testing is currently being performed that will see implementation in early December of a second interline agreement with a large US carrier. Discussions are underway with other domestic and international airlines to increase the connectivity that SeaPort offers at small and mid-size cities.
To present the new aircraft and livery to the public, SeaPort has partnered with several airports across its Mid-South region; an open house and round-trip ticket raffle giveaway will be hosted at each airport from November 19 – 21, 2014, with the following schedule:
New Aircraft Tour Schedule
November 19, 2014
- Great Bend Municipal Airport Open House: 8:30 – 10 AM Central (Great Bend, KS)
- Salina Regional Airport Open House: 12:30 – 2 PM Central (Salina, KS)
- Boone County Regional Airport Open House: 5:00 – 6:30 PM Central (Harrison, AR)
November 20, 2014
- Hot Springs Memorial Field Airport Open House: 9 - 10:30 AM Central (Hot Springs, AR)
- South Arkansas Regional Airport Open House: 1:30 - 3 PM Central (El Dorado, AR)
November 21, 2014
- McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport Open House: 9 - 10:30 AM Central (Jackson, TN)
- Tupelo Regional Airport Open House: 2:30 – 4 PM Central (Tupelo, MS)
The new aircraft will be on display for public viewing at each airport during the scheduled open house.
About SeaPort Airlines
Portland, Oregon-based SeaPort Airlines, Inc. operates daily scheduled flights in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas. SeaPort Airlines reservations can be made by calling 888-573-2767, at www.SeaPortAirlines.com , or through all major GDSs. The company currently has an interline ticketing and baggage agreement with Alaska Airlines and is working to establish similar agreements with other US and international carriers.