Seaplanes are part of Florida’s history and lore. From Pan Am’s flying boats of the 1930’s which made International Pan American Airport on Dinner Key the busiest air gateway to the United States during that period through the middle of World War II.
According to OAG, Cape Air will on January 18, begin scheduled seaplane service from Miami’s Watson Island and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport to Bimini in the Bahamas. Cape Air will fly twice daily from Watson Island to Bimini and four times daily from Fort Lauderdale.
Cape Air will have the first scheduled service from Watson Island since Chalk’s International Airways (formerly Pan Am Air Bridge and Chalk’s Ocean Airways) had its FAA operating certificate revoked in 2007. Chalk’s which was advertised as the “world’s oldest airline” was a Fort Lauderdale-based carrier that had passed from owner to owner following the death of its founder in 1977. Chalk’s was featured in the opening credits of Miami Vice. From 1996 to 1999 Chalk’s was owned by Pan Am and re-branded Pan Am Air Bridge. The Chalk’s name returned in 1999 but was a damaged brand after the crash of flight 101 in December 2005. The subsequent investigation led the revoking of the airline’s operating certificate and the shutting down of a historic Florida brand.
Cape Air unlike Chalk’s has a thriving business outside of Florida and seaplanes, serving as one of the largest regional carriers in the Northeast. The seaplane operation should compliment Cape Air’s other services.
Photo: “Grumman HU-16D Albatross Chalks MIA 03.87” by RuthAS – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grumman_HU-16D_Albatross_Chalks_MIA_03.87.jpg#/media/File:Grumman_HU-16D_Albatross_Chalks_MIA_03.87.jpg