Italian manufacturer Tecnam has delivered the first two of up to 100 nine-passenger P2012 Travellers to US regional carrier Cape Air.

The aircraft were ferried from Capua, Italy across the Atlantic to Cape Air’s headquarters in Hyannis, Massachusetts to begin pilot and maintenance training.

As the launch customer, Cape Air plans to put the all-new P2012 into service by the end of 2019. The aircraft, powered by two Lycoming turbocharged piston engines, will replace the airline’s Cessna 402C piston twins, the oldest of which were manufactured in the late 1970s.

Cape Air has ordered an initial 20 Travellers to be delivered over two years. The airline then wants Tecnam to accelerate deliveries to replace the rest of its 85-aircraft 402C fleet within five to six years, Cape Air CEO and founder Dan Wolf said.

The US regional began working with Tecnam on design of the P2012 in 2011. The high-wing aircraft made its first flight in July 2016. The Traveller received EASA certification in December 2018. FAA approval followed in August 2019, clearing the way to begin deliveries.

Compared with the Cessna 402C, the P2012 has a full-height cabin, air conditioning and USB ports at each seat. Maintenance per flight hour is expected to be reduced by a factor of 2-2.5. The lower maintenance burden will make it easier for Cape Air to expand its network, Wolf said.

Graham Warwick