Ecuatoriana Airlines, the new startup in Ecuador, plans to launch operations using a fleet of Boeing 717-200 and Dash 8-Q400 aircraft, according to a statement released by the company. While the actual flight debut for Ecuatoriana remains to be seen, everything seems to be moving towards the launch of this new carrier.
A unique aircraft in Latin America
Currently, no Latin American carrier uses the Boeing 717-200 on commercial flights, according to data provided by Cirium.
In fact, worldwide, only three airlines are operating B717 flights in the next two weeks. These carriers are Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, and Qantas. Between April 26 and May 10, these three carriers are planning 5,669 flights with the type, offering 654,274 seats across domestic routes.
Ecuatoriana Airlines believes the 717 is the perfect aircraft to operate in this South American country. In a statement, it said,
“We want to mention that after careful planning, research, and analysis, Ecuatoriana Airlines has decided to also opt for the Boeing 717-200 aircraft.”
The 717-200 is a twin-engine jet with a capacity of 115 passengers configured on three classes. Thanks to its operational performance, it fits perfectly with the geography of Ecuador and the region, Ecuatoriana said.
So far, the airline has not announced whether it has signed a leasing contract. We also don’t know how many aircraft it will have when it launches operations.
The Dash 8-Q400
Additionally to the B717-200, Ecuatoriana Airlines will also use a fleet of Dash 8-Q400 aircraft. The airline stated,
“We will operate with the Dash 8-Q400 turboprop domestically and also on some cross-border flights. The Dash 8-Q400 has a capacity of up to 78 passengers in a configuration of two classes, being ideal for domestic short-haul flights of less than 1.5 hours in duration, and its low operating costs will allow us to transfer these savings to our passengers.”
The Dash 8-Q400 has 16 commercial operators worldwide, according to Cirium. None of these airlines fly in Latin America. Ecuatoriana Airlines CEO, Eduardo Delgado, said in February that it would operate with six Q-Series aircraft.
When will Ecuatoriana start flying?
Ecuatoriana Airlines is one of the many startup airlines planning on operating soon in Latin America. So far, the new carrier that has advanced the most in this process is the Brazilian Ita Transportes Aéreos. Ecuatoriana may very well be in second place.
Nevertheless, there’s still a long way to go before we see the iconic Ecuatoriana brand back in the skies. The airline still hasn’t obtained its Air Operator Certificate (AOC). Ecuatoriana stated,
“Likewise, we continue in our certification process aimed at obtaining our AOC. Although we have not been able to progress in this regard as we would have liked due to the different current restrictions, we continue working towards this objective.”
Last year, the airline requested the Ecuadorian State for permission to operate 29 routes from seven cities. It plans to run from the cities of Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Santa Rosa, Esmeralda, Manta, and Loja.
Would you be excited to see a Boeing 717-200 operating in Latin America? Let us know in the comments.