MIAMI – For the first time in nearly 25 years, a US independent regional airline has operated a flight using a brand-new ATR aircraft.

Fort Lauderdale-based carrier, Silver Airways, has made history with the launch of regularly scheduled flights using its new ATR-600 series aircraft.

The first aircraft, named “Mile Marker Zero” (N400SV) after the iconic Key West landmark, performed the airline’s first ATR42-600 flight from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) to Key West International Airport (EYW).

Source: Airways

The aircraft left FLL at 10:40 am and arrived into EYW at 11:55 am as Silver Airways Flight 93.

Silver has so far taken delivery of three of up to 50 new ATR-600 series aircraft, consisting of a mix of 46-seat ATR-42s and 70-seat ATR-72s from an initial order of 20 ATR-600 series aircraft.

Silver intends to take delivery of five more ATR-42-600s in 2019 and, subject to regulatory approval, is planning to take delivery of at least three ATR-72-600s in 2019.

All of the initial 20 aircraft are expected to be in service by 2020, according to the airline. These new planes will allow Silver Airways to expand its services in the Southeastern US, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean.

Photo: Gaillac

The introduction of the new ATR-600 aircraft enables Silver to offer quicker direct flights to many more short and medium-haul destinations in both the domestic and international markets, replacing the aging SAAB 340 turboprops that the airline currently operates.

Silver Airways and Seabourne Airlines CEO Steve Rossum remarked that it truly is “a great day for Silver Airways, ATR, Nordic Aviation Capital and our customers that would not have been possible without the hundreds of dedicated men and women of both Silver Airways and Seaborne Airlines.”.

Rossum added that the new planes “will be transformational for Silver Airways and is ideal for our short-haul domestic and nearby international operations.”

Simultaneously, ATR CEO, Stefano Bortoli, noted that his team is “proud to see the ATR-600 aircraft take flight in the US and to introduce the most modern standards of passenger experience and regional aircraft with our valued partner Silver Airways”.

“We are grateful to our friends at Silver for being our US launch customer and leading what we expect to be a new wave of eco-responsible and passenger-friendly regional travel in the US and the return of the ATRs in North America,” Bortoli added.

The return of the ATR in the regional US passenger market is an important milestone for ATR and is a leap forward in aiding the improvement of the regional US market providing passengers with maximum comfort whilst ensuring a high level of safety.

Also, FedEx will become the launch customer for the ATR72-600 Freighter, due to be delivered in 2020.