Tropic Ocean Airways (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) has announced it will start scheduled passenger service to St. Petersburg’s downtown Albert Whitted Airport. The airline will operate twice-weekly Cessna 208B Grand Caravan flights from its FLL base starting on February 1.
Downtown St. Petersburg (and Tampa across Tampa Bay) are the birthplace locations of the first scheduled airline service in the world.
The airline started operations in 2009 and is owned by Rob Ceravolo and Nick Veltre.
The airline issued this statement:
Successful Florida based airline, Tropic Ocean Airways, is pleased to announce the launch of a new scheduled service from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Downtown St Petersburg.
The new service, beginning February 1, 2016, will allow for business trips between Downtown St Pete and South Florida, as well as leisure travel for week and weekends trips.
The new service will be operated by Tropic Ocean Airways new Wheeled Cessna Caravan Ex aircraft with executive style seating for up to 9 guests. The twice-weekly service will begin on February 1, 2016 and will operate on Mondays and Fridays with two flights per day.
Monday and Friday Scheduled Service
Depart FLL 06:30 – Arrive SPG 07:48
Depart SPG 08:24 – Arrive FLL 09:42
Depart FLL 16:00 – Arrive SPG 17:18
Depart SPG 17:54 – Arrive FLL 19:12
The announcement of Tropic Ocean Airways new service further establishes the success of the airline since it began in 2009. During 2015 Tropic Ocean Airways added several new scheduled service destinations and also expanded popular existing routes by adding extra flight days. Tropic Ocean Airways are set to continue their success and expand their services further in 2016 with new routes to be announced for The Florida Keys and destinations in The Bahamas such as Fresh Creek, Andros, North Eleuthera, Cat Cay, and more.
World Airline News
Tropic Ocean Airways wants to make getting around Florida easier for the Tampa Bay business traveler.
The Fort Lauderdale private jet company is bringing commercial air service back to Albert Whitted Airport staring in February with nonstop flights to and from St. Petersburg and Fort Lauderdale International Airport. It’s the first of what Tropic Ocean Air CEO Rob Ceravolo predicts will be many flights coming to Albert Whitted, which for decades has only been a private general aviation airport.
Tropic Ocean will offer two flights a day — in the mornings and evenings — on Mondays and Fridays starting Feb. 1. The flights are intended to be a daily travel option for local business travelers who need to get to South Florida and return home the same day. The service could draw new daily or weekly international tourists from the South Florida market to Tampa Bay, as well, said Chris Steinocher, president and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
Flights will start at $299 each way, though the Tropic Ocean website this week offered prices at $249 each way starting in April.
Depending on the success of the initial service to Fort Lauderdale, Ceravolo hopes to add direct service from St. Petersburg to Tallahassee, Jacksonville and the Keys next.
Tropic Ocean Airways has a fleet of seaplanes and private jets that land in tropical destinations usually only accessible by boat or helicopter. The company offers private charter services to Florida coastal destinations, the Keys and the Bahamas.
Starting in St. Petersburg, Tropic Air is offering scheduled service for purchase by the seat. Two pilots will fly a nine-seat Cessna 208B EX Wheeled to and from Albert Whitted.
There is some appeal for business travelers who are willing to pay more to avoid a regional airport like Tampa International or St. Pete-Clearwater International. The company says passengers don’t have to wait in long security and customs lines when they fly on its chartered planes. Ceravolo, a former Navy Top Gun fighter pilot, founded the company in 2009. In addition to private charter flights, Tropic Ocean offers cargo and freight services and yacht charter services.
Tampa Bay Times