Southwest Florida International Airport’s air service has increased significantly over its 35 years.
But out-of-state destinations propelled that growth.
Local service within Florida? It’s more like one step forward, two steps backward.
On Dec. 19, RSW will regain seasonal nonstop service to Miami after several years’ absence, thanks to American Airlines.
However, as of Sunday (yesterday), Silver Airways has pulled its nonstop routes from Fort Myers to Key West and Orlando that it began in 2013.
Want to fly direct to the state capital? Or to Jacksonville? Forget about it.
Until the Miami flights launch more than six weeks later, the south Fort Myers airport won’t have any scheduled commercial nonstops to destinations within Florida.
Silver’s pullout is a growth opportunity for Salt Island Seaplanes – a charter company that serves Key West from both Naples Municipal Airport and Page Field general aviation airport in Fort Myers.
The company is adding a second, four-passenger amphibious plane and another pilot this season, said owner and retired airline pilot Jon Rector. That growth not only is focused on Key West, though: Rector is working on developing charter service to Bimini in the Bahamas, from Fort Myers and Naples.
And, the international airport isn’t giving up on providing intrastate service.
“We’re talking to an airline about picking up Key West and another city in Florida,” said Carol Obermeier, director of air service development at Southwest Florida International.
Obermeier said it’s too soon to be more specific, but hopes to share good news in the first quarter of 2019…