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Silver Airways
File:Silver Airways.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
3M SIL SILVER WINGS
Founded1988 (as Gulfstream International Airlines)
AOC #29GA010N (formerly GUUA428B)
HubsAs United Express:
Washington Dulles International Airport
As Silver Airways:
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
Tampa International Airport
AllianceStar Alliance (affiliate)
Fleet size28
Destinations27
Parent companyVictory Park Capital
HeadquartersFort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
Broward County, Florida, U.S.
Key peopleSami Teittinen (Chief Executive Officer)[1]
Websitesilverairways.com

Silver Airways Corp., operating as Silver Airways (formerly Gulfstream International Airlines), is a United States airline with its headquarters on the property of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in unincorporated Broward County, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale.

The airline operates around 170 daily scheduled flights. Silver Airways operates to 20 cities in the United States and seven destinations in the Bahamas with hubs at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Tampa International Airport. The airline also operates scheduled flights as a United Express carrier for United Airlines to 7 cities at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Silver Airways Corp. launched as a new regional carrier with assets from former Gulfstream International Airlines.[2]

As of November 2013 Silver Airways received $20,515,042 in annual Federal subsidies for Essential Air Services that it provided to rural airports in the U.S.[3]

History

1990s

A Beechcraft 1900D airliner at Billings Logan International Airport.

The airline was established as Gulfstream International Airlines in October 1988 and started operations on December 1, 1990. Thomas L. Cooper, the founder, was a former Boeing 727 captain for Eastern Air Lines during the pilots' strike in 1989. Initially it operated as an on-demand air taxi between Miami, Florida and Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, but was relocated to the Bahamas, when the political climate in Haiti forced the operation to halt. The airline also flew diplomatic mail to the U.S. Interest in Havana, Cuba on a weekly basis.

In May 1994, a codeshare agreement was signed with United Airlines. In December 1995, Gulfstream began the transition from a Part 135 carrier to a Part 121 carrier, allowing operation of larger aircraft such as leased Short 360s. Gulfstream's parent company, G-Air Holdings, acquired Paradise Island Airlines in August 1998 and continued to operate its de Havilland Canada Dash 7s. Prior to Trans World Airlines' (TWA) acquisition by American Airlines, Gulfstream operated as a part of the Trans World Connection network as TWConnection.

Gulfstream International Airlines had a program in which first officers paid for their training in the Beech 1900 and flew as a line qualified first officer. To gain experience, pilots with low experience paid the airline to ride in the right seat in duty positions normally occupied by a paid professional; albeit one that receives very little pay. This was also the case with captains early on with candidates paying $15,000 up front starting in 1992 with Avtar International doing the recruiting and advertising. However, these pilots received compensation following successful completion of Initial Operating Experience (IOE). So called "Pay to work" programs started with Avtar International selling multi-engine time in Cessna 402s with the assurance from the Miami Flight Standard District Office that this time was loggable.

Avtar International was started by Vic Johnson of New Jersey and Bill Veiga, a former Cessna test pilot. Initially, most intern pilots were sent to Gulfstream 's chief competitor, Airways International as Gulfstream possessed only one aircraft, a Cessna 402B. As Gulfstream continued to grow, they took a majority of the Avtar pilots. Soon, a turboprop program was added. Simultaneously, Avtar offered a heavy turboprop program with Airways International on their SD3-330. This program ended with the demise of Airways International and was only briefly restored with Gulfstream's own SD3-360s.

Pilots who have interned with Gulfstream have been hired by many other airlines, including major airlines. While most have become successful pilot, some have been among the crews of prominent accidents, such as Pinnacle Airlines Flight 3701, Comair Flight 5191 and Colgan Air Flight 3407. Gulfstream itself has never had a fatal accident.

In July 1997, the airline's entire fleet of Shorts 360-300s were repossessed by the leasing company due, in part, to maintenance irregularities that included the welding of hydraulic lines. Gulfstream faced a civil penalty of US$1.3 million. Gulfstream's affiliate, Gulstream Flight Academy, the successor to Avtar, came under scrutiny because Marvin Renslow, the pilot of Colgan Air Flight 3407, trained there.

2000s

In August 2003, Paradise Island Airlines' operating certificate was sold to US Airways Group. In 2004, a long-term codeshare agreement with Continental Airlines was signed. In March 2006, Thomas L. Cooper sold his stake in the company to Gulfstream International Group, Inc., a newly formed corporation.[citation needed]

In 2009, U.S. Congress investigators and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accused Gulfstream of falsifying flight time records, making crews fly longer hours than allowed by law, and providing below standard aircraft maintenance. The company's owner and chief pilot, Thomas L. Cooper, forbade the photocopying of aircraft logbooks done by some pilots to corroborate the times they logged in their personal logbooks.

Historically, pilots were paid "segment hours" which were based on enroute (or takeoff-to-landing) times as opposed to block (or gate-to-gate) times and have been suspected of being part of an inducement for under reporting. Logging of true block hours could be detrimental to a pilot's pay. Whereas, most carriers pay pilots based on block time, since it is what FAA flight time limits are based on, Gulfstream did not. An incentive existed to under report block time by keeping it as close to enroute time as possible thereby permitting pilots to get paid for the most enroute hours in a given period. Delays that increased block times not only reduced the crewmember's utility to Gulfstream but also limited his pay. In 2009, Gulfstream International Airlines came under additional scrutiny due to three fatal crashes that all involved pilots[4] that were trained at the Gulfstream Training Academy (its sister company[5]), the last one in February 2009, where 50 died on Colgan Air Flight 3407 near Buffalo, NY.[6]

In May 2009, the federal government issued a fine of $1.3 million against Gulfstream International Airlines after the Federal Aviation Administration found that it had falsified flight time records, allowing crews to fly longer hours than allowed by law, and providing below standard aircraft maintenance.[5] In response, CEO Dave Hackett stated that "the airline does not have safety violations"[7][8] and "the vast majority of findings were not violations at all".[9]

2010s

On November 4, 2010, Gulfstream International Airlines, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[10] In May 2011 Victory Park Capital acquired Gulfstream International Airlines when it bought the assets of Gulfstream International Group. Victory Park also purchased 21 of Gulfstream’s Beechcraft 1900D aircraft from Raytheon Aircraft Credit Corporation.[11]

Saab 340B at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport.

On December 15, 2011, the airline was rebranded as Silver Airways. That same day, they took delivery of one of six recently purchased Saab 340B+ aircraft.[12]

In the first half of 2012, Silver Airways made several moves to turn the company around. Its maintenance facilities were moved from from Ft. Lauderdale to Gainesville Regional Airport, taking over the former Eclipse Aviation facility that had remained vacant since 2009. It purchased six more Saab 340B+ aircraft bringing the Saab fleet to 12.

Scheduled service on the Saabs started on the Florida and Bahamas routes. Shortly after, routes from Gainesville Regional Airport to Orlando International Airport and Tampa International Airport began.[13]

Silver Airways expended their network numerous times in the second half of 2012. First, Washington Dulles International Airport started scheduled service to destinations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia. Its Florida route network expanded to Jacksonville.[14] And service began from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to destinations in Mississippi and Alabama.[15]

On August 7, 2012, Silver Airways made national news headlines when it landed at the wrong airport.[16]

On June 28, 2013 Silver Airways announced that it would cease Montana operations over the next few months. The announcement came on the heels of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) decision to eliminate subsidized service in two key Montana communities, Lewistown and Miles City. Service ended after the last flights on July 15, 2013 for Lewistown and Miles City. To ensure no interruption of service and a smooth transition for the flying public in the remaining Montana markets serviced by Silver Airways, Silver continued its operations in those communities until such time as the DOT awarded the routes to another airline and the new carrier started service to those communities.[17]

In 2013, Silver Airways was named one of the Top 10 Best U.S. Airlines in the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler’s 26th annual Readers’ Choice Awards.[18]

In the first half of 2014, Silver Airways made several network changes. It ended Beech 1900 operations in Cleveland's EAS network.[19] Then, Silver Airways closed much of its Atlanta network and redeployed its aircraft to other markets. Silver Airways kept limited operations out of Atlanta and Macon.[20]

Facilities

The airline headquarters are located in Suite 201 of the 1100 Lee Wagener Boulevard building on the property of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in unincorporated Broward County, Florida,[21][22][2] near Fort Lauderdale. Previously its headquarters were in Dania Beach, Florida,[23][24] also near Fort Lauderdale.[25] The airline also maintains a state-of-the-art 61,000 square-foot maintenance facility based at Gainesville Regional Airport.

Destinations

Silver Airways is the largest U.S. carrier to the Bahamas, operating more daily flights to more points throughout the multi-island country than any other airline. In its home state of Florida, Silver Airways serves more gateways with more daily flights than any other airline.[citation needed]

Silver Airways currently operates Essential Air Service routes out of Washington-Dulles International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Domestic

Florida Florida
Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
Virginia Virginia
West Virginia West Virginia

International

The Bahamas Bahamas

Silver Airways also operates public bonded charter flights that are not under the United Express code.

Interline and codeshare agreements

Silver Airways does not participate in any major global airline alliances, but the airline has interline and codeshare agreements with several airlines. Many of these airlines are members of global airline alliances.

Fleet

The Silver Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft:[26]

Aircraft Active Stored Orders Passengers Notes
Saab 340B 25 5 34 Operated in Washington-Dulles system as United Express.
Operated in the Atlanta, Florida, and Bahamas systems as Silver Airways
Total 25 5  

References

  1. ^ "Silver Airways Names Sami Teittinen as CEO" (Press release). Silver Airways. 2014-09-03. Retrieved 2014-09-05. ((cite press release)): Cite has empty unknown parameter: |1= (help)
  2. ^ a b Pike, Joe. "Silver Airways’ First SAAB 340 Slated to Fly to Bahamas." Travel Agent Central. Questex Media Group. December 15, 2011. Retrieved on December 17, 2011.
  3. ^ http://www.dot.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/Subsidized%20EAS%20web%20report%20for%20non-Alaska%20communities-Nov%202013.pdf
  4. ^ Corrigan: Airline That Trained Pilots in 3 Most Recent Regional Crashes Culture Wars Online Magazine, 2011
  5. ^ a b Alan Levin: Airline That Trained Buffalo Crash Pilot Fined $1.3M USA Today, May 21, 2009
  6. ^ Allan Chernoff and Laura Dolan: Florida's 'pilot factory' CNN.com, May 28, 2009
  7. ^ Scrutiny of Gulfstream Intensifies Wall Street Journal online, May 27, 2009
  8. ^ "Gulfstream International denies allegations of safety violations."
  9. ^ David Hackett (Continental Connection): RE: Gulfstream International Airlines, Inc Letter to the FAA, June 11, 2009
  10. ^ Yu, Roger. "Gulfstream International files for bankruptcy protection." USA Today. November 5, 2010. Retrieved on November 5, 2010.
  11. ^ Victory Park Completes Acquisition of Gulfstream International Group
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "Silver Airways brings cheap Tampa, Orlando flights from Gainesville - The Independent Florida Alligator: Local & National". Alligator.org. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
  14. ^ "Silver Airways". Gosilver.com. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
  15. ^ "Silver Airways expands service at Hartsfield-Jackson". Aviation.ca. 2012-10-02. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
  16. ^ "Silver Airways flight 4049 makes a surprise visit to Fairmont Municipal Airport". drudgereport.com. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  17. ^ Book Flights to Billings | Montana Flights | Silver Airways. Gosilver.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  18. ^ http://bizbuzz.djournal.com/2013/11/12/silver-airways-named-one-top-10-airlines-conde-naste-traveler/
  19. ^ Suttell, Scott. "Silver Airways to exit Cleveland market." Crain's Cleveland Business. February 14, 2014. Retrieved on April 12, 2014.
  20. ^ http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2014/04/10/silver-airways-to-close-much-of-atlanta-network.html
  21. ^ "Contact Us." Gulfstream International Airlines. Retrieved on December 17, 2011. "1100 Lee Wagener Blvd, Suite 201 Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33315."
  22. ^ "Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport > Business > Tenant Directory." Broward County. Retrieved on December 17, 2011. "1100 Lee Wagener Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL33315"
  23. ^ "Dania Beach city, Florida." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 21, 2009.
  24. ^ "Contact Us." Gulfstream International Airlines. Retrieved on May 21, 2009. "Gulfstream International Airlines 3201 Griffin Road 4th Floor Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312"
  25. ^ Pasztor, Andy and Susan Carey. "Gulfstream Faces Penalty on Pilot Hours, Maintenance." The Wall Street Journal. May 21, 2009. Retrieved on May 21, 2009.
  26. ^ "Silver Airways". 2014 April 29. Retrieved 2014 September 21. ((cite web)): Check date values in: |accessdate= and |date= (help); Text "Company History" ignored (help)