Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Community Updated on Possibility of Second Seaplane Company Coming to Eastie’s Shores, Massachusetts

Cape Air Senior Vice President Andrew Bonney repeatedly told the community at numerous public meetings that the takeoff and landing area in the waters off Eastie would be restricted by the Federal Aviation Administration to only Cape Air operations.

The takeoff and landing base approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and United States Coast Guard just off the Hyatt Boston Harbor Hotel, explained Bonney, would be restricted by the Federal Aviation Administration to only Cape Air operations.

“This is a private, restricted sea base,” said Bonney earlier this year. “So you wouldn’t have to worry about other carriers using the area.”

Well, it seems that statement was not entirely true as a second air carrier is looking to join Cape Air in running seaplanes from Boston Harbor to New York City. 

When Cape Air was seeking neighborhood support for their plan, residents in Jeffries Point feared that allowing Cape Air to land seaplanes off Eastie would open a floodgate for other seaplane carriers to start using the landing area. Once assured by Bonney that Cape Air would be the only carrier using the landing zone, residents started to warm up to the idea. 

However, Tailwind Air CEO Alan Ram said while he couldn’t speak for Bonney or Cape Air President Dan Wolf, having one seaplane company monopolize a landing area in the Harbor would never be considered by the Federal Aviation Administration. 

“What I can say is that each seaplane operator has to individually apply to the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to use the waterway,” said Ram at a Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association meeting Monday night. “It would obviously be anti-competitive for the Federal Aviation Administration to award a monopoly to the first company that comes through the door. So each application is looked at individually and I think that’s what they (Cape Air) meant in that their application was exclusive to them as ours is for us. So just because we’re approved, doesn’t mean anyone else is automatically approved. And the same thing went for Cape Air.”

A look into Federal Aviation Administration approvals for the water landing area shows Tailwind, as well as Cape Air, were both granted the right to use the harbor for seaplane operations.

At Monday night’s meeting, Ram said Tailwind has proposed a plan for seaplane service from Boston Harbor to New York City, similar to Cape Air’s service. 

“What we’re proposing is roughly a four time daily and weekday departure and arrival from Boston Harbor to the Manhattan seaplane base at East 23rd Street in the East River,” said Ram. “This is an existing facility that’s been in use for a long time. In low visibility conditions, the airplanes will not operate which means not only bad weather, but we do not operate before dawn and we do not operate after dusk.”
Tailwinds has two bases, one in Westchester New York and another in Bridgeport, Connecticut. “We have been operating seaplanes in and out of New York City for about seven years,” said Ram. “We have a very stable and experienced management team and company’s core management team has been together nearly that entire time. We have a great team of pilots, dispatchers and maintainers and are up to nearly 30 employees.”

Like Cape Air, Ram said Tailwind will be using the Cessna Caravan for seaplane operation to and from New York and the cost of a one-way trip between the two cities will be between $295 and $495

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