A second seaplane company operating off East Boston’s shore will begin shuttling customers from Boston to New York City on August 3.
Tailwind Air recently received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and U.S. Coast Guard approval to take off and land just off the Hyatt Boston Harbor Hotel near Jeffries Point.
Costing $395 per ticket for a one way trip to Manhattan, Tailwind will shuttle passengers from the South Boston waterfront to the seaplane for the 75-minute flight to a dock off East 23rd in Manhattan. The company plans to run three flights per day during the week down to New York.
“By offering nonstop, weekday flights at peak hours to and from Manhattan and Boston Harbor, we present exclusive time savings over all other modes of transportation, at a reasonable price premium,” CEO and Founder of Tailwind Air, Alan Ram, explains. “Our service combines the accessibility of the train with the speed of a flight.”
Peter Manice, Director of Scheduled Operations, called the flights a ‘game changer’ for travellers between Boston and New York.
While he added, ‘no one else is doing this’ that statement is a little misleading.
Tailwind’s rival, Cape Air, began testing seaplanes between the Harbor and New York back in 2016 after receiving FAA approval to land seaplanes in pretty much the same spot as Tailwind.
While Tailwind may be the first to begin flying a regular route between the two cities, Cape Air’s plan to fly from Boston to New York is still on the horizon and soon there will be two seaplane operators landing in the harbor off Eastie.
There was some confusion over Tailwind’s plans because Cape Air Senior Vice President Andrew Bonney repeatedly told the community at numerous meetings the takeoff and landing area in the waters off Eastie would be restricted by the FAA to only Cape Air operations.
Bonney called this landing area a “private, restricted sea base” and the residents wouldn’t have to worry about other carriers using the area.
According to experts in the airline industry while Cape Air’s sliver in the harbor is restricted the FAA approved Tailwind’s sea base adjacent to Cape Air’s.
This was the worry among residents when Cape Air was seeking community support for their sea base. Some in the Jeffries Point neighborhood feared allowing Cape Air to land seaplanes off Eastie would open a floodgate for other seaplane carriers to start using the landing area. However, Ram said at a community meeting that while he couldn’t speak for Bonney or Cape Air, having one seaplane company monopolize a landing area in the Harbor would never have been considered by the FAA. Ram added that it would be anti-competitive for the FAA to award a monopoly to the first company that came through the door.
A look into FAA 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.
Tailwinds has two bases, one in Westchester, New York and another in Bridgeport, Connecticut and has been operating seaplanes in and out of New York City for about seven years.
Like Cape Air, Tailwind will be using the Cessna Caravan for seaplane operation to and from New York. “This new route is breaking barriers,” said Ram. “We are grateful for the tremendous local support in Boston we have received and aim to be good neighbors and an important addition to Boston’s economic boom. We eliminate the time needed to travel to airport terminals, long security lines, check-in, board, and await the flight’s turn on the runway. We are honored to be welcomed into the Boston community as well as see continued support from Manhattan.”