QUINCY — There was no pomp or circumstance to Wednesday morning's flights at Quincy Regional Airport, as crews went about their work preparing the Tecnam P2012 Traveller aircraft for its inaugural departure from the airport.
Quincy Regional is just the second airport that the new Italian-manufactured aircraft have flown to or from since their debut in the United States as part of the fleet of Cape Air, a commercial airline that provides daily flights from to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and Lambert International Airport in St. Louis. The first airport to see the new planes was Marion, Ill.
Cape Air spokesperson Erin Hatzell said the airline had hoped to organize a public viewing of the airplanes in Quincy prior to Wednesday morning's departure. Those plans were scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has sickened hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, including 6,980 people in Illinois. To help prevent the spread of the virus, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced last month a stay-at-home order and banned large gatherings of people.
Hatzell said Wednesday in an email that the company still plans to have an open house in the future for the new planes. She hopes that once area residents see the planes they will be impressed by the size and level of detail manufacturers undertook to make the planes comfortable.
"The Tecnam will elevate the entire passenger experience. The cabin itself has about 30% more capacity than the (Cessna) 402. A 6-foot-tall individual has enough legroom to sit comfortably with legs crossed. Each seat is equipped with charging ports, cup holders, under-seat storage, air conditioning, LED lighting and a large window which provides an excellent view. The high-wing design allows for an uninterrupted view outside every window," Hatzell said.
Flights to both St. Louis and Chicago use the new aircraft, which Hatzell said will continue to be added to the airline's fleet in the coming months.
"We currently have seven Tecnams and the plan is to have 20 by the end of 2020. We have a purchase for an additional 90 after the first 20 are fulfilled. As the Tecnams arrive, and our flight crews are trained, we will be introducing them into more markets."