(Biz Journals) Tropic Ocean Airways will create 100 new jobs in South Florida next year as it expands its fleet of seaplanes operating out of Fort Lauderdale, the company announced Wednesday.
The company is the leading seaplane operator on the East Coast, with flights from South Florida to the Bahamas, and from New York to the Hamptons, Fire Island and other resort destinations.
Tropic Ocean Airways CEO Rob Ceravolo made the announcement at Sheltair Aviation during the official kickoff of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. In an interview with the Business Journal, Ceravolo said the jobs will bring in $10 million to $15 million in economic impact.
He said the company has ordered four new planes, known as the Cessna Grand Caravan EX, from Wichita, Kansas-based Textron Group, giving the company a total fleet of 15, with an option to purchase more aircraft in the next five years. Subsequently, the company hopes to begin service to the Caribbean and perhaps other locales that Ceravolo declined to identify.
The new jobs will include pilots, administrative and salespeople, according to Ceravolo.
Ceravolo said there is a growing interest in seaplane flights to the Caribbean, in part because it allows customers to reach their destination quicker.
“We brought a private jet luxury model to seaplanes,” he said. “This amphibian airspace has really exploded.”
The company also announced on Wednesday that it is exploring the development of the world’s first dedicated Cessna Grand Caravan seaplane training facility in South Florida, where pilots will be able to be trained specifically for seaplanes.
Founded by Ceravolo in 2009, the company has grown considerably. After starting with just one employee, the company now has more than 80 employees, he said. In 2016, the company transported over 15,000 passengers safely, the company said.
Prior to starting Tropic Ocean, Ceravolo was a Navy fighter pilot and was awarded two Air Medals for missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to a company press release.
This announcement was more good news for Broward County. A few weeks ago, Sixt Rent A Car, a luxury car rental service, announced it would be expanding in Fort Lauderdale, creating 300 new jobs and making a capital investment of $10.4 million.
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