Northern Ireland coach company Airporter has a new fleet of Euro VI Sprinter minibuses.
The Derry/Londonderry-based operator provides a transfer service connecting the North West to both Belfast airports, with 16 daily departures.
Supplied by Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van (NI), of Newtownabbey, Airporter’s 16 vehicles are based on 516 CDI chassis from the new Sprinter range which was introduced late last year.
They are powered by clean-burning 156 hp Euro6 engines and have 16-seat bodies by conversion specialist EVM, of Westmeath.
The dealer also provides aftersales support which allows Airporter to keep its new fleet running smoothly, with minimum downtime.
The vehicles are the subject of Mercedes-Benz Service Care contracts, under which Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van (NI) carries out all servicing and maintenance in its workshop, usually during evenings (for customer convenience, the facility operates with extended opening hours).
Airporter also benefits from Service 24h emergency roadside assistance, while MobiloVan provides a replacement vehicle at no cost in the event of a breakdown.
Niall McKeever, director at Airporter, said: “Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van’s dealership on Mallusk Road is situated very close to the route between the two airports that we serve, which is highly convenient.
"We organise our schedules so there’s always one vehicle in for its regular safety check or service. Then, when another is due a trip to the workshop, our driver can simply call in, drop off the Sprinter he arrived in and drive away in the finished one.
"The system is fast and easy, and helps us to keep the operation running smoothly.”
The Airporter fleet has previously included coaches with as many as 41 seats, but these have now been replaced by the 16-seater Sprinters.
“The smaller vehicles are much more flexible, as well being less costly to run,” said McKeever. “They’re extremely well appointed too, with full leather seats, panoramic windows, power points and wi-fi.
“We also know from 10 years’ experience of running Mercedes-Benz vehicles that they are superbly reliable, which is vital in our business – our reputation is only as good our ability to get passengers to their destinations not only safely and comfortably, but also on time. Thankfully, that’s never a problem.”