There’s a new commuter airplane on the horizon for Vineyarders. I’ve seen it a couple of times at Martha’s Vineyard Airport, but haven’t been in it yet.
Cape Air has purchased 20 Tecnam P2012 Travellers, and has an option for 90 more. The plan is to replace the entire fleet with new airplanes. Cape Air pilots are being trained on Traveller, and the plane is being flown on different routes through the Cape Air network. Most of us think of Cape Air as an airline for the service to and from Boston, New York, and Nantucket. But flights range throughout Cape Cod and the Northeast, the Caribbean, the Midwest, and Montana.
Cape Air is the largest, or one of the largest, commuter airlines in the U.S. It was founded in 1989 by Dan Wolf, with only one route, between Boston and Provincetown, and a first-year total of 8,000 passengers. On its first day, it had one airplane, two pilots (one of them was founder Dan Wolf), and three passengers. Today it has approximately 700 employees, and serves more than 600,000 passengers a year. In season it has up to 400 flights a day.
The aging fleet of 88 Cessna 402s is being replaced with the new Travellers which occasionally fly from the Vineyard. If you’re lucky, you may get a ride in one soon. And you’ll know you’re in the new plane from the new-car smell to the enhancements. How about underseat storage so you can take more than your phone onboard? The high wings mean aerial photography is unobstructed. And back to the phone, there’s a USB port in the window armrest. Remember summer? Now there’s air conditioning.
Like the Cessna 402s, the Traveller is a twin-engine airplane with state-of-the-art instruments. The design of the new plane started nearly 10 years