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Tecnam aircraft - P2012 STOL (Tecnam photo)

Fly Montserrat Eyeing Tecnam Aircraft to Upgrade Fleet

Acknowledging that their fleet is aged and expensive to operate, CEO of Fly Montserrat, Captain Nigel Harris said they would like to upgrade their current fleet with new Tecnam aircraft.

Speaking on the Breakfast Show with Basil Chambers about a range of issues related to air travel, Captain Harris discussed the ongoing challenges of operating an aged fleet of Islanders.

He called Islanders and Twin Otters old technology, stating that it was time to upgrade the fleet and he is eyeing the twin engine Tecnam aircraft with STOL (short takeoff and landing) capability.

Tecnam airplanes he noted are more fuel efficient, faster, offer more safety features and can lift a lot more weight than the Islanders and Twin Otters.

He explained that Twin Otters are not commercially viable aircraft for Montserrat given the air safety standard requirements which would limit the capacity of passengers they can carry to no more than about 10 people with one piece of luggage. He said no one had stopped Twin Otters from coming to the island but that the airlines would have had to make the decision whether having to reduce their passenger load from 19 to nine or 10 to meet the requirements made operating to Montserrat profitable.

He said this was not a viable option without a large subsidy from government.

Captain Harris said unless a new runway is built, which will take time and money “we are where we are.” The alternative, he added would be to purchase new aircraft which can operate with the air safety regulations, and he has found that the Tecnam is the best option.

Tecnam aircraft (Tecnam photo)

As purchasing new aircraft would run into the millions, the airline official said they would not commit to acquiring new planes until they have a guarantee that there is space in the local market for them.

He was referring to a new early market tender engagement issued by the Governor’s Office on behalf of the Access Division. The document stated that the “initiative aims to gather information to assist the Airport Management and Access Division of the Government of Montserrat (GOM) in understanding the existing capabilities and limitations of the market. The objective is to gauge interest among regional airlines that might consider providing scheduled air services to and from Montserrat.”

The expression of interest document went on to note that the John A. Osborne Airport “operates under ASSI regulations, requiring strict adherence to safety and operational protocols to ensure secure and effective aerial operations. The airport can accommodate BN Islanders, Twin Otters, and other aircraft of similar dimensions and capacity, subject to payload restrictions that may impact takeoff capabilities. Additional details regarding the airport’s regulations and operational guidelines, including the Aeronautical Information Publications (AIP) for Montserrat, and the Governor’s Instructions concerning the use of John A. Osborne Airport can be found on the ASSI website at

“The GOM is exploring the possibility of maintaining a consistent air service schedule for commercial flights for a period of at least six months. This effort is part of a broader plan to develop Montserrat as a viable destination for tourism and commercial activities, while
enhancing accessibility and connectivity to and from Montserrat via neighboring international gateways, including Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Maarten, Guadeloupe, among others,” the EOI stated.

Harris said his airline intends to submit an expression of interest to offer the services. He noted that Fly Montserrat already had several advantages being based in Montserrat, certified to handle medivacs, transporting vaccines and authorised to travel to both Dutch and French islands.

“Until we know the results of that engagement we won’t be investing in new aircraft,” he added.

Listen to interview here.