Hey everybody and welcome to my newest flight report! This time, covering the first of my flights in some rare birds in Perú; a roundtrip to Chachapoyas, in the Peruvian Amazon, with ATSA's B1900. I already explained my trip in my last FR, which you can see clicking HERE. Anyway, let's go to the report!
After almost five hours of flying and a visit to ATSA's hangar the day before, time had arrived to start my flying stint in Peru. ATSA has as its main focus charter flights and operations to the mining companies in Peru. In the last year, though, they started regular operations to some touristic or underserved Peruvian cities. Currently, they fly from Lima to Atalaya, Chachapoyas and Tingo María; soon they'll also start flying to Huánuco. All the operations are made by the 19-seater Beech 1900 or by the Fokker 50.
Actually, the initial idea was flying on the F-50 - since it's the Dutch aircraft that mostly covers the route to Chachapoyas, but two days before, when I would choose my seats, I saw the allocated aircraft to my trip was the B1900, since there were only 19 available seats. Well, unavoidable things that make part of aviation, after all.
I got to the airport around 7AM, with plenty of time to my flight (that should depart at 9AM). The arrivals board
In the only check-in counter ATSA has, I didn't wait any time; I presented my passport and soon I had in hands the two boarding passes for the roundtrip.
Does ATSA belong to Skyteam? Noooo, this is only Aeroméxico's board back there ;-)
A very nice detail is that the passes are handwritten in a cardboard paper, thus great for keeping/collecting.
The safety procedures were fast, as much as possible. It's notorious, though, that Lima Airport is absolutely saturated and out of phase for an airport of this dimenson. Even more when you think Peru is a big touristic country; actually, even in the domestic boarding area, I observed many foreign passports and I heard many different languages. The flight between Lima and Cuzco, for example, has about 50 daily flights! So, even though many surveys point Lima as one of the best airports of the continent, it's pretty clear for me this is not the reality.
As my flight time didn't arrive, I made some planespotting. Though the weather was foggy - as it always is in Lima this time of the year - I couldn't miss the chance of photographing the Peruvian Airlines' 737-200 going to Piura. Photo was horrible due to the airport's terrible windows, but it was surely worth the register. On the other day I would fly on the same route… also on the 737-200! This you'll see on my next FR.
My boarding was on a "basement" boarding room annexed to the main room, since we'd remotely board on our tiny B1900. The passengers of flight AMP1875 were called at 08:33 and we got to the aircraft at 08:41. First bus ride of the day
…with some good planespotting opportunities!
We were nine passengers, performing an occupation of 47,4%. On this day, we would fly with OB-1875-P, built in 1993. The aircraft had previously operated in the USA for Mesa Airlines and for Arizona Express Airlines.
Peru's Army helicopters by our side
Before our departure, the first officer made a short safety speech to the passengers, also offering earplugs to those who wanted. The engines were started at 08:49 and taxi was started at 08:53, that is, seven minutes before our departure time. We waited two LATAM take-offs and one landing, then it was our time. At 09:02 we aligned on runway 15 of Lima's only runway and the versatile pair of PT6 turboprops were taken to maximum thrust, producing an interesting sound.
This oval windows are pretty iconic, don't you think?
We made a right turn in order to bow to Chachapoyas. In some seconds we passed the cloud layer that covers Lima during the whole winter. On the subsequent moments the passengers, mainly those who were in the right side of the aircraft, would observe the beautiful Andes landscapes. As it was still early morning, there was plenty of snow in the top of the mountains. Well, the photos can express better than my words, so take a look:
Since the Beech 1900 has only 19 seats, it hasn't got any flight attendant. Still the airline serves a snack box. In my seat there was a cracker package, flavoured peanuts and an apple juice.
Besides that, the aircraft was as comfortable as possible, at least for its category, in the same level as its rivals. The space was reasonable. As the seats are disposed in an 1-1 configuration, that certainly eases the discomfort that is inherent to this kind of little aircrafts. And well, if you've read any of my other reports, you know I'm 5,5ft tall, so you know the pitch is never a problem for me, haha!
In terms of entertainment, the airline provides a local newspaper. Honestly, I didn't pay too much attention to the news due to the amazing landscapes seen from the window, but as in that day there was the Belgium vs. Brazil World Cup match, I couldn't help but read what they said about our national team! When I came back to Lima, though, the game was already 2-0 for the Belgians…
A paper barf bag.
And the safety card! Certainly exotic, innit?
An overview of the cabin
At 10:23 we started our descent. The landscape had already changed radically, and what we saw the most was a green immensity. Chachapoyas is located in a relatively mountainous region, that together with the rainforest generates beautiful sceneries and pretty views during the approach, that by the way requires a lot of technique.
Dealing with some strong crosswinds, we landed at 10:33 in the Peruvian town.
As our aircraft was the only in the airport, we cleared the runway and parked very very quickly. In little time, the flight was already disembarked.
Not many people in the tarmac…
Beautiful landscape of the Peruvian Amazon
I took the turnaround time for photographing the modest terminal of the city. Not that it needs more than that. There are only five weekly flights to Lima by ATSA and about two-daily SAETA operations to Tarapoto, this one subsidized by the government. Also LC Perú was about to start three weekly operations to Lima.
Well, that's a lot of flights for today!
The time on ground was also used for photographing the aircraft in some uncommon angles with a very very nice background.
I got back to the aircraft and talked with the first-officer, who was very enthusiastic about his job, even showing me some videos of the airline operations. He got happy knowing I came from Brazil just for trying the air transport operations in Peru.
Back to the B1900. Bye bye Chachapoyas!
…and also the cabin from another angle.
Here are some photos of the return flight.
Safety instructions before the engines are started. No microphone used.
The sights were also amazing this time!
Back to Lima.
Thanks a lot for this tremendous flight experience, ATSA! I'll never forget this day.
Also thank you guys for reading my report! I hope you have enjoyed it and I'm waiting for your comments here.
Lima - LIM
Chachapoyas - CHH
This first flight was an unforgettable experience, with beautiful landscapes and a very interesting service, certainly reccomendable, at least for an operation of this size. Chachapoyas is an unexplored touristic destination in Peru, having as its main attraction the Kuélap archaeological site. The local community hopes the new air services in the region can contribute to the growth of the tourism there, and this is one of the roles of the regional aviation around the world. That's one of the reasons I love aviation!
Cabin: sufficient for this kind of aircraft, though a little bit dated. Pitch and comfort were good. Cabin crew: well, no FAs here, but the pilots were very happy and enthusiastic! Entertainment: the newspaper was sufficient for a regional operation like this. The exotic safety card was also a good - and rare - reading! Meal: a box with a salty cracker, peanuts and an apple juice. Honestly, I didn't expect so much for a flight like this.
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