Western Air is upgrading its fleet with the addition of new Embraer 345 long range jets, similarly used by American Eagle.
Noting that while the company awaits finalized approval, VP of Operations and General Counselor Rexy Rolle said, in a recent interview with this daily, that Western Air is the only company that has these jets registered in the country.
She added that the jets will assist the airline with its Grand Bahama to New Providence route. “We operate the most flights between Grand Bahama and New Providence and as a result of the occupancy and volume growing, we wanted to upgrade the fleet.”
Rolle noted that with passengers’ growth, the company executives decided to make adjustments from the current 32-seater Saab 340 As to the Embraer 345 long range jets.
The Embraer E-Jet family is a narrow body, twin engine jet airliner with a short to medium range. It can carry 66 to 124 passengers, commercially. The aircraft is manufactured by Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer and is used by mainline and regional airlines around the world.
“I think our passengers have been waiting patiently for the jets to get on stream,” said Rolle, who assures the public that the company is working with Bahamas Civil Aviation to finalize the certification process.
Rolle stressed that every employee in their department is competent and is fully prepared for the improvements. “We have invested in all of our employees – the flight attendants, pilots and dispatchers – having them trained throughout the year by Flight Safety International.”
Western Air has been around since 2001 and operating in Freeport since then; however, the company wants to expand outside the country to Santo Domingo, Cuba and also Jamaica.
“We want to open the doors for more people to experience flights from the two islands, but also to expand where we are going,” said the VP of Operations, who added that the airline has plans to start routes back to Marsh Harbour, Abaco and Exuma.
Rolle disclosed that the company has invited employees from the Embraer manufacturer to see the new state of the art jets along with technical teams and flight operations teams who are assisting with the new transition.
“We are confident that this will be a progression for not just Western Air, but the entire Grand Bahama,” said Rolle.