Tropic Ocean Airways and Keys officials are negotiating “final details” that would provide regular service out of Marathon Airport. The company, established in 2009, currently has six nine-passenger Cessna airplanes and plans to add a seventh plane in a few months. The airline runs frequent on-demand charter flights in South Florida and the Bahamas, and is looking to expand to regularly scheduled flight service in the United States.
“Our goal is to provide both charters and scheduled service from Marathon Airport,” said Roger Custureri, general manager of Tropic Oceans Airway.
Custureri said the planes would fly multiple days per week and the cost for seats aboard the scheduled service is still being calculated.
“The private charter costs $1,200 for an hour,” Custureri said, adding that per-seat costs for scheduled flights would be comparable with business commuter industry averages.
Tropic Ocean Airways flies mostly amphibian-type airplanes, capable of landing in the water or the runway. A seventh airplane will be added to the fleet in the coming weeks.
The company is owned and staffed by active and former members of the U.S. military. Founder Rob Ceravolo is a U.S. Navy Top Gun pilot and instructor. Vice President Nick Veltre is a former Marines crew chief. And Custureri has put in time with Naval intelligence and the Department of Defense.
“We know that regularly scheduled service is needed in Marathon and we’re very appreciative of the support we’ve received from Keys officials,” Custureri said. “We hope to be able to finalize the details of service very soon.”