Air Aqua 1997-2014 767 300
Air Aqua received their first of three 767s in 1996 in a venture to expand into the lucrative international market. New route additions were few and far between in the late 80s and early 90s and the airline was looking for a way to stimulate growth. With dropping oil prices Air Aqua's board decided to test the waters abroad. Air Aqua's first 767, registered C6-QTF was delivered on June 30 1996 and flew to London Gatwick, finally bringing the airline across the Atlantic. The route faced a lukewarm welcome initially, but saw passenger numbers increase steadily over the next three years. The rotes to Paris Orly and to Amsterdam were received with much greater fanfare and saw record numbers of tickets sold, with an average flight capacity of 87 percent for the first two weeks for both routes. The two more successful routes sparked the airline to order 6 more of the type for routes to the Iberian peninsula.
Most international traffic halted after the attacks in September 2001. The routes to Barcelona and Lisbon were suspended and frequency to London, Brussels, and Frankfurt were reduced to only once per week, later stopping service to Frankfurt altogether. The airline was forced to lease four of its 767s and 5 737-400 to Skyhawk Airlines to stay afloat, but finally saw profits again in July of 2003. The aftermath of September 11 2001 was felt mostly in the routes to the United States and Mexico. a total of 9 destinations were removed from the US tree and 6 from Mexico's. Most of these routes would eventually be renewed in the late 2000s, but routes like Nassau to Dallas, Memphis and Chihuahua have yet to have Air Aqua service return. The nine leased aircraft would be later sold to Skyhawk.
Air Aqua is beginning to come back in the international market with the arrival of Boeing 787-9 aircraft. There are plans for an additional five on top of the 2 the airline has already, and routes like Nassau to Frankfurt will likely be returning. The airline has no current plan to retire any of its 767 fleet, but may consider planning the retirement of the type as the newer 787 comes in.
The aircraft featured is a Boeing 767-300 ER registered C6-QUD. It was delivered on July 1 1996
Powerplant: X2 GE CF6-80C2B7F