UPDATE 12-4-18: The Daytona Tortugas have announced Silver Airways as the official airline of the Tortugas.
We are proud to announce that Silver Airways is now the Official Airline of the Tortugas! It will begin service out of @FlyDAB starting in January! ✈️#ShellYeahhttps://t.co/hFU4lOLzO7 pic.twitter.com/KeeDI3qqHu
— Daytona Tortugas (@daytonatortugas) December 4, 2018
DeLand, FL – On the heels of losing JetBlue in January, Daytona Beach International Airport is now a step closer to adding another low-cost airline in 2019.
The Volusia County Council reached a tentative agreement this morning (December 4th) with Silver Airways for daily flights from Daytona Beach to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport starting next month, with fares starting at $59.
Airport Director Rick Karl was among county staff pushing for the deal to happen.
“It’s going to open up the South (United States),” Karl said during a brief presentation in front of the VCC. “It’s going to open up the Caribbean. We hope to get flights to Key West, flights to the Bahamas. It’s going to be very exciting.”
During that same presentation, Kurt Brulisauer – Silver’s Senior Vice-President of Ground Operations – said that his airline will help off-set JetBlue’s pending departure because that’s one of the airlines Silver has agreements with where its passengers can book connecting flights from other airports through DBIA.
“We look at ourselves as Switzerland,” Brulisauer added. “You can go to JetBlue.com and book DAB (Daytona Beach) to JFK [John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City). It would give you Silver via Fort Lauderdale to JFK and that’s the same thing with United and the other partners.”
Among those partners are Delta and American, two airlines which already fly directly out of DBIA. The others are United, Avianca, Alaska, Air Canada, Bahamasair, Hahn, Azul Brazilian and All Nippon.
Council members approved the incentives-laden agreement unanimously as part of the consent agenda. That allows DBIA officials to negotiate the exact contract terms with Silver, which will have to go in front of the County Council for approval before the deal become official.
According to the agenda item, the incentives include DBIA not charging airport landing fees and other facility costs to Silver for a year as well as a free year of “below-the-wing” ground handling, a service for which the airport would normally charge over $90,000.
There’s also $100,000 worth of marketing support from the county and another $100,000 from Volusia’s Economic Development Division meant to off-set “airline startup risks” for the first year of service, payable in quarterly installments of $25,000.
DBIA estimates airport revenue from Silver to be around $200,000 for the first year based in part on what Brulisauer calls a “conservative” estimate of 20,000+ passengers in and out of DBIA.
Silver plans to use newly built turboprop airplanes from ATR for the Daytona Beach to Fort Lauderdale route once negotiations with the French manufacturer are complete.