US start-up Waltzing Matilda Aviation (MW, New Bedford), the production carrier for the Connect Airlines brand, has announced it has leased two DHC-8-Q400s from Chorus Aviation Capital (CAC). The aircraft are due to be delivered in September and November 2021 respectively and will enter service in the fourth quarter of 2021, WMA chief executive John Thomas confirmed to ch-aviation.

He said the aircraft would be registered as N881WM and N882WM, but were not on the US register yet.

CAC, in a statement, said the two aircraft were the last two remaining Dash 8-400s - G-EOF (msn 4216) and G-ECOH (msn 4221) - previously operated by flybe. (BE, Exeter) and repossessed by CAC in 2020. They are currently stored at Halifax, the ch-aviation fleets history module reveals. “Inclusive of the previously announced transactions with Cobham Aviation Services Australia - Airline Services (QJE, Adelaide) and Sky Alps (Bolzano), CAC has now remarketed and successfully placed all the repossessed (Flybe) Dash 8-400 aircraft,” the company said in a statement. All aircraft had undergone reconfiguration and return-to-service work at Chorus' subsidiaries, Voyageur Airways (VAL, North Bay) and Jazz Technical Services.

Thomas (also the former CEO of Virgin Australia (VA, Brisbane Int'l)) commended CAC for supporting the launch of Connect Airlines, saying his company's selection of the Dash 8-400 demonstrated the new airline's confidence in "its passenger and operational advantages".

As previously reported, WMA was negotiating to add three more Dash 8-400s within six months or by early 2022. The aircraft would be sub-leased from Waltzing Matilda Airlines GP, LLC (WM Airlines GP, LLC), which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WMA. Connect Airlines will be the selling and marketing agent (with its own website) for WM Aviation’s Part 121 operations.

The carrier plans to connect major business centres in the US Northeast with Toronto City Centre, a turbo-prop-only airport recently abandoned by Porter Airlines (PD, Toronto City Centre), to provide up to 30% faster trip times for business travellers and thereby creating an opportunity for charging premium fares.