The St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport announced today that a new airline, Silver Airways, will soon begin flying travelers to Ft. Lauderdale and Key West.
"These are two new routes that are currently not being serviced from PIE," said Misty Pinson, Silver Airways spokeswoman.
A Saab 340B Plus turbo-prop airplane will begin flying up to 34 passengers daily to Ft. Lauderdale and Key West beginning on March 12, according to Pinson. Silver is offering introductory fares from $69 one-way for travel before May 22.
"Silver offers more routes within Florida and between Florida and the Bahamas than any other airline," Pinson said.
St. Pete-Clearwater Airport director Noah Lagos said Silver Airways is filling an historical gap by offering flights to Key West.
"We had service to Key West and it was a local favorite for getaways for many years from PIE," Lagos said. "Now Silver will bring back that much called for service six days a week."
Lagos said he hopes Silver Airways will help the airport break a 2004 record of 1.3 million passengers. The record was almost broken in 2014, when the airport served 1,247,987 passengers.
“Now with Silver coming on board and all the other growth we have, next year, we’ll break all records," said Lagos.
The St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport was remodeled in 2010 and has seen growth over the past few years that's built on the backbone of Allegiant Airlines.
"I think Allegiant is the catalyst but there would be no catalyst if we didn’t have this wonderful tourist destination," Lagos said. "But Allegiant’s brand of low fares and point-to-point service that makes it and now having 40 destinations on Allegiant alone to choose from, that’s fueling our continued growth.”
Allegiant's customers account for 95 percent of the passenger traffic at the airport.