Tropic Ocean Airways landing in Bimini
Michael Weber, general manager of the popular 51-room resort and marina, confirmed that management has approved construction of an $18,000 floating dock on the south end of the property. In an agreement with Tropic Ocean Airways—the airline that has reinvented seaplane travel in Florida and the Bahamas— the Big Game Club will be able to exclusively afford guests the convenience of dockside customs and immigration check-in as well luggage pick-up service. Weber said the floating dock should be installed and operational by the middle of June.
Tropic Ocean Airways which recently re-instituted regular scheduled service to Bimini on Fridays and Sundays, is currently the only U.S. based seaplane airline authorized by the Bahamian government to service the North Bimini Seaplane Base (formerly operated by the now defunct Chalk’s International Airline).
“With the addition of the floating seaplane dock, the Big Game Club will officially become the home base for Tropic in Bimini,” noted Weber.
Weber said the main benefit of seaplane departure is convenience—no need for early arrival for customs and/or security checks, and passengers avoid the need to travel to and from the South Bimini airport, which requires both a taxi and ferry ride, saving almost an hour of travel time.
“You can even bring your own drink as you board,” he added.
Offering charter service to other Bahamas destinations as well as the Florida Keys, Tropic’s scheduled service to Bimini originates from Sheltair at Fort Lauderdale International Airport (a 30 minute flight to Bimini) and is adding additional flights in June to Bimini from the Miami Seaplane Base, located on Watson Island between downtown Miami and South Beach.
Tropic Ocean Airways CEO Rob Ceravolo said the single aircraft airline, which currently flies a five-passenger Cessna 206 Amphibian (the “SUV” of seaplanes) is planning to add a nine-passenger Cessna Caravan Amphibian in the future as business grown dictates.
Weber, who said business at the Big Game Club in a year-to-year comparison from 2011 to this month shows a 24% increase in room bookings and an overall 15% increase in total revenues.
“Memorial Day weekend is 100% booked and the summer looks very good,” he said. “I think overall by adding special customer services for at-the-dock plane arrivals and departures only will enhance our growth and customer appeal.”
Sixty percent of guests at the Big Game Club currently arrive by air.
The Big Game Club, which is located on the main navigation channel in Bimini Bay, currently features a 51-room resort and a 75-slip marina capable of accommodating boats up to 145 feet in length.
Guestrooms and suites have been fully renovated, as with the new Bimini Big Game Bar & Grill, and completion of the Hemingway Lounge and Gulfstream conference center.
The Bimini Big Game resort has approved the construction of an $18,000 floating dock which, according to general manager Michael Weber, will allow guests the "unique" opportunity of being able to fly in and out of the resort.
"Once the floating dock is up, Tropic Ocean Airways is going to be flying in and out. We are working now on certain scheduled flights. I think right now we are looking at Fridays and Sundays as scheduled trips from Fort Lauderdale. and we may be adding some more."
Tropic Ocean Airways, a Key West-based seaplane outfit headed by US Navy fighter pilot, Rob Ceravolo, recently re-instituted regular scheduled service to Bimini on Fridays and Sundays. It is currently the only US-based seaplane airline authorized by the Bahamian government to service the North Bimini Seaplane Base formerly operated by the now-defunct Chalks International Airline.
Tropic Ocean Airways currently uses a five-passenger Cessna 206 Amphibian, and is planning to add a nine-passenger Cessna Caravan Amphibian in the future as business growth dictates.
According to Mr Weber, the floating dock will be constructed at the south end of the 51-room resort and marina property.
"The response from the folks we have been talking to about it has been great. We are shooting for mid-June to have it completed. It's going to be great because you don't have to show up at the airport hours ahead of time and wait in line. It's kind of a unique thing we are going to have here," he said.