Tropic Ocean Airways has begun offering twice-weekly scheduled seaplane service to the island of Bimini in the Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL).
Operated by U.S. military pilots and seaplane instructors, Tropic Ocean Airways is the only U.S. based seaplane airline that is authorized by the Bahamian government to service the North Bimini Seaplane Base.
Having begun the service on March 30, Tropic Ocean is now operating twice-weekly flights on Fridays and Sundays from Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport to the North Bimini Seaplane Base.
The operator’s flights originate from Sheltair at Fort Lauderdale International Airport. Sheltair is a luxurious private terminal with free parking, offering a convenient alternative to the long security lines in the main terminal.
Passengers arriving from locations outside of Florida via a major airline can connect to a Tropic Ocean flight via a shuttle to Sheltair’s terminal, where they will board their seaplane to Bimini. The return trip to the U.S. is convenient for passengers inbound to the U.S., since Tropic Ocean is located adjacent to the U.S. Customs and Immigration facility.
Tropic Ocean’s Fort Lauderdale-Bimini flights last approximately 35 minutes and land in the harbor on North Bimini, allowing passengers to disembark at the seaplane ramp a few blocks away from Guy Harvey’s Big Game Club and Bimini Bay, avoiding the long taxi and ferry boat ride required if arriving at the South Bimini airport.
The airline also has discount rates for members of the military and is adding a “locals” fare, which will be in effect this summer.
“Bimini needs a scheduled seaplane service,” said Rob Ceravolo, CEO of Tropic Ocean Airways. “The regular flights to our closest neighbor add a convenient option for both frequent visitors to North Bimini and the locals.”
The seaplane operator is teaming up with the Big Game Club and Bimini Watersports to offer guests an adventure-travel package including airfare, accommodations, and water sports activities.
Tropic Ocean Airways has been serving Bimini since early 2011, when the airline re-introduced seaplane flights to the island. The carrier operates a single Cessna U206F amphibian manufactured in 1976 and seating six people, including the pilot.
The operator says that in the year since it began operations it has had some notable flights. Among them were two flights donated by Tropic Ocean Airways to transport Christmas gifts to the children of Bimini, as well as a flight bringing John Hemingway, grandson of Ernest Hemingway, back to the island.
Although the scheduled service is limited to flights originating from Fort Lauderdale on Fridays and Sundays, Tropic says it will add more flights and destinations throughout the summer based on demand.
“We are working with the Miami Seaplane Base on Watson Island to create the infrastructure to support regular flights to Bimini,” says Ceravolo. “We would love to see regular service throughout the week from both Miami and Palm Beach in addition to the Fort Lauderdale service and are working diligently to make this a reality.”
Adds Ceravolo: “We launched our airline because we believe passengers deserve better choices in air travel and we are very excited to offer our flights on a per-seat basis. At a time when vacations begin with the slow form of torture called airline check-ins, long security lines and cattle-car aircraft, we provide a convenient and exciting alternative to mundane airline travel. When you fly Tropic your vacation starts when you board your aircraft.”
Founded by a U.S. Navy TOPGUN in 2009, Tropic Ocean Airways says it was the first operator to bring back seaplane service to Bimini since 2005.
Tropic Ocean Airways, a carbon-neutral company, is an FAA certified Part 135 on-demand charter company, which is also authorized to operate up to four round-trip scheduled flights per week.
The carrier picks up passengers from anywhere in South Florida, including the historic Miami Seaplane Base on Watson Island, for scenic flights to Key West, or any spot in between. Tropic Ocean flies regularly to Lorelei Cabana on Islamorada and Little Palm Island.
Visit www.flytropic.com to learn more.
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