Silver Airlines Comes to Clearwater / St. Petersburg

Silver Airways adding service to Key West and Fort Lauderdale from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE)


CLEARWATER — Silver Airways is adding service to Key West and Fort Lauderdale from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE), giving Tampa Bay passengers more choices and convenience, airline officials said Monday.  It also means visitors coming to this area on those flights will land closer to the Gulf beaches.  Silver Airways is launching new daily nonstop flights from PIE to Fort Lauderdale twice daily and once-daily flights to Key West six days a week, starting March 12.



Introductory fares for the flights start at $69 one way, including taxes and fees and are available at through Jan. 15 for travel between March 12 and May 22.  “It’s an eight-hour drive to Key West, so get on the internet and book your flights now,” St. Pete-Clearwater Airport Director Noah Lagos said.


The airline and airport officials announced the new service during a joint press conference. Kristina Alspaw, with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Anita Treiser, with the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce attended the announcement to help the airport celebrate.  Alspaw called the added flights “a tremendous investment in our community.”  The new non-stop flights will provide connections to Jacksonville and the seven destinations that Silver serves in the Bahamas, including Freeport and North Eleuthera.


The new Silver Airways service adds a bit more icing on the cake for PIE, which already was celebrating its second-busiest year ever in 2014, with 1.25 million passengers coming through. That is a 21 percent increase over December 2013.  While Silver already offers flights to Key West and Fort Lauderdale through Tampa International Airport, adding flights at PIE gives customers more choices and convenience, said Misty Pinson, Silver’s director of public relations and communications. She called it part of the airline’s continued commitment to Florida.


Lagos, whose airport also had its best May, June, October and November during 2014, said offering the flights from Clearwater is not a competition with Tampa International. “It’s complimenting what is already available.”  Just last month, Silver announced it was adding a direct flight from Tampa International to Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, the only direct flight from here to the Bahamas.  St. Pete-Clearwater (PIE) will bring to 11 the number of airports Silver serves in Florida.


“As further demonstration of Silver Airways’ continued commitment to State of Florida residents and visitors, we are looking forward to launching service from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport,” Silver Airways CEO Sami Teittinen said. The new flights mean more options for convenient flights to South Florida and the Bahamas and better access for customers that want to visit the Tampa Bay region, he said.


It has been several years since PIE offered flights to Key West, Lagos said, and he has received calls from those interested in seeing those flights come back. Seacoast Airlines previously flew from PIE to Key West, but offered only eight seats on a flight, Lagos said. Silver’s planes, all Saab 340B-Plus Turboprops, each seat 34 passengers.


There has also been a call for more flights to Fort Lauderdale, Lagos said. He said many people in this area take cruises out of Fort Lauderdale, so the new flights will make that trip more convenient.  Silver’s service out of PIE adds to the record it set in 2014 as offering the most non-stop destinations of any airport in the state, with 40. And Allegiant Air is adding five new destinations early this year to Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Richmond, Omaha and Hagerstown (Baltimore-Washington).


Source:  Tampa Tribune / Yvette C. Hammett / 12 Jan 2015


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