It’s official. Florida’s first commercial carrier, Silver Airways has acquired Seaborne Airlines, which services the British Virgin Islands and several other Caribbean nations.
According to Silver Airways, the business deal will provide an expanded service, allowing the airline to better serve its markets while, at the same time, creating more opportunities for employees and greater value for its business partners.
The merger brings together two independent airlines with similar types of aircraft fleets, complementary route networks, and common codeshare/interline partners, a release said.
The total fleet now consists of 31 aircraft, including Saab 340 and de Havilland Twin Otter seaplane aircraft.
There are also plans afoot to include some 50 new eco-friendly ATR-600s this year.
In the initial phase, Seaborne will continue to operate under its own certificate as a standalone operating subsidiary of Silver.
However, the merger of the two airlines’ operating functions, joint branding, and streamlining of the guest experience is expected to begin in 2019.
Steve Rossum of Silver Airways will serve as Chief Executive Officer of the combined airline while Ben Munson will resume his role as president of aviation consulting firm Embark Aviation, and continue as an advisor to the company.
The combined airline will employ nearly 1,000 aviation professionals and will be headquartered at Silver Airways’ offices in Fort Lauderdale under the leadership of executives from both Silver and Seaborne.
Importantly, the combined airline will continue operating Silver’s route under the Silver Airways banner and Seaborne’s route network throughout the Caribbean and the Virgin Islands under the Seaborne name.
Furthermore, tickets for Silver Airways will continue to be available on silverairways.com and bookings for Seaborne will continue on seaborneairlines.com.
Similarly, Seaborne passengers will be able to earn and redeem frequent traveller miles under Seaborne’s SeaMiles programme.
Chief Executive Officer at Silver Airways Steve Rossum said he is thrilled to welcome the Seaborne team.
“Together we create one of the nation’s leading independent airlines,” he said.
“This transaction brings together two strong and historic independent airlines with amazing employees, an excellent track record of operational safety, respect for our people and our communities, and great service for our passengers.”
In the meantime, CEO Munson said he is excited about the partnership and the opportunities that it can provide.
“Despite the devastating impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, our resilient and dedicated employees at Seaborne have successfully restructured our company with the support of our loyal passengers,” he said.
He further said Seaborne is ‘well positioned to grow’ with an airline that ‘shares our common goals of success.’
Back in January, Seaborne announced plans to sell and noted the catastrophic 2017 hurricanes as well as its ‘legacy’ liabilities as its reasons for aligning with Silver.
The sale came following months of negotiations between the two airlines.
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