Florida regional carrier Silver Airways is at risk of disappearing as the novel coronavirus crisis has greatly impacted operations.
In a letter to federal officials, the airline’s CEO stated that Silver is “in dire need” of government assistance to remain flying and may be the first independent regional carrier to collapse should the situation worsen.
Silver primarily operates flights within Florida and to nearby Caribbean islands including the Bahamas and Cuba, with a newly-minted base in San Juan.
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Silver Airways may be the next regional airline in the US to fall prey to a stark decrease in revenue and customers due to the spread of coronavirus.
The unofficial flag carrier of the State of Florida is requesting federal funds to stay in the air after the reduction in air travel demand has seen the airline fall drastically short of projected passenger carriage numbers, the airline stated in a letter to federal officials. Silver Airways primarily operates turboprop aircraft on regional and commuter routes across the Florida panhandle with service to neighboring Caribbean islands, as well as a handful of routes in other regions.
Silver is known for its inexpensive flights on single-class turboprop aircraft with no extravagances such as first-class or in-flight entertainment. Most flights operated by the airline are short, with few above two hours.
Unlike many of its competitors, Silver is privately owned and is at the whim of its financiers, according to airline industry consultant Henry Harteveldt.
Without the backing of a major carrier, the airline’s fate is in the hands of its owner who may decide to close the airline if it can’t return to normal operations, says Harteveldt, who listed Silver as one airline that may not survive the downturn.
The airline CEO Steven A. Rossum’s letter to Florida’s federal representatives and cabinet secretaries tasked with ensuring the survival of the airline industry stated that the carrier is “in dire need” of a bailout and will not survive without assistance.
“Our goal, to the extent possible, is temporary network reductions while preserving the ability to spring back quickly after this disaster passes,” Silver Airways spokesperson Misty Stoller told Business Insider.
Most Americans may not have heard of Silver due to the limited geographical scope of its operations, but the airline once provided federally-funded lifelines to underserved cities under the Essential Air Service program.
Take a look at Silver Airways.
SEE ALSO: 11 air traffic control centers have been temporarily closed after workers tested positive for coronavirus, highlighting a vulnerability in air travel
Silver Airways was formed for the remnants of Gulfstream International Airlines, a regional airline similarly operating in the American Southeast and Caribbean, by investment firm Victory Park Capital.
Source: Victory Park Capital
Formally launching operations in 2011, the airline began flying with the goal of being the dream airline. “Our goal: to create the dream airline — one that’s financially sound, safe and professional, but also fun to fly and a great place to work,” former CEO Darrell Richardson said …read more
Source:: Business Insider