Launch of Tailwind Air’s DC-New York seaplane service from Dulles

Seaplane operator Tailwind Air said it would launch service between New York and Washington on Friday, overcoming questions about its unusual operation, which had delayed a planned September launch.

Tailwind announced on Wednesday that its amphibious planes would leave the Washington area from a private terminal at Dulles International Airport, splashing down in New York’s East River less than 90 minutes later. The carrier will initially offer eight flights per week in each direction.

The company, which currently flies to Boston and other New England destinations, had made plans this year to launch service to Washington. But operating under aviation rules unusual for suburban operations presented challenges in accessing the tightly restricted airspace around the nation’s capital.

Tailwind first announced plans to use College Park Airport in Prince George’s County as a base, but that option was derailed after the Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration raised questions about the operation. .

Federal security concerns delay planned seaplane flights to College Park

Tailwind management then entered into discussions with Dulles and mistakenly announced that the service would begin there. The company was unable to obtain permission to operate until this week.

The carrier’s pitch is aimed at business owners looking for travel that’s faster than trains while avoiding some of the hassle of regular air travel. One-way tickets between DC and New York start at $395.

The eight-passenger Cessna Caravans will operate from Jet Aviation’s private facility in Dulles, meaning passengers can arrive as little as 10 minutes before departure and can park for free.

Dulles is in an area of ​​less tightly restricted airspace around Washington, which facilitates Tailwind operations. Passengers are not required to pass a TSA check before boarding as they will not be entering the airport terminal.

“We are confident that our IAD service in the Washington area will resonate well with our customers and we look forward to providing this unique service,” said Alan Ram, Managing Director of Tailwind.

Paul Bobson, vice president of airline business development for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates Dulles, greeted Tailwind at the airport. In a statement, Bobson said the new service “will bring the two largest national economies closer together for business and visitor traffic.”

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