Silver Airways has announced a new route between Daytona Beach and its hub in Fort Lauderdale. Scheduled to begin in January, the quick hop up the Floridian coast will be operated by the airline’s hallmark Saab 340 turboprop aircraft. Silver Airways’ partnership with multiple airlines, notably JetBlue Airways with a large presence in Fort Lauderdale, will allow for travelers to connect on to partner airline flights in Ft. Lauderdale, as well as other Silver Airways flights to cities throughout Florida and the Bahamas.
The flight will be offered with assistance from Volusia County, in which Daytona Beach sits and acts as the operator of Daytona Beach International Airport, which will waive landings fees and rent for Silver Airways for the first year. The county will also cover the cost of ground handling for a year and give the airline $100,000 in the first year to cover start-up costs for the new market, as well as help the airline market the flights with $50,000 from the county’s marketing budget.
As part of its deal with Volusia County, the airline will also become the official airline of the local minor league baseball team, the Daytona Tortugas. One aspect of the partnership with the Tortugas has one of the airline’s Saab 340s painted in a special livery featuring the team’s mascot. The county believes the service will bring in almost $200,000 to the airport in passenger fees, and an increase in concessions usage. Silver Airways believes that the route will be successful, and its CEO has stated the company is already looking at expanding in Daytona.
However, Silver Airways does have a history of exiting markets after a short period or not even starting in new markets at all after being announced. Earlier this year, plans to launch service in Branson, Missouri and the Midwest were canceled due to a delay in the certification of the airline’s new ATR-42s. The airline has also pulled out of markets after starting service or making a major investment in the market. In 2012, the airline moved its maintenance facilities to Gainesville, only to close the station and the facility in 2015.
The addition of Silver is a good sign for the airport, which will be losing its sole daily JetBlue flight to and from New York January, and will be joined by Canadian airline Sunwing as it begins seasonal flights to Daytona from Toronto in late January. Although travelers are losing their direct flights with JetBlue, the new flights with Silver Airways will allow them to connect to JetBlue flights to four New York area airports from Fort Lauderdale.
Additionally, the airport predicts that 2019 will see an increase in passenger numbers for the second year in a row.