After setbacks, Tailwind Air says it will start offering flights Friday
By Ian Duncan
Seaplane operator Tailwind Air said it will launch service between New York and Washington on Friday, overcoming questions about its unusual operation, which had delayed a planned September launch.
Tailwind announced Wednesday that its amphibious planes would depart the Washington region 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 serves Boston and other New England destinations, had been developing plans this year to launch service to Washington. But operating under unusual aviation rules for commuter operations presented challenges in gaining access to the tightly restricted airspace around the nation’s capital.
Tailwind first announced plans to use College Park Airport in Prince George’s County as its base, only to see that option derailed after the Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration raised questions about the operation.
Tailwind’s management then began discussions with Dulles, and mistakenly announced that service there would begin. The company was not able to secure permission to operate until this week.
The carrier’s pitch is to business leaders seeking faster travel than trains while avoiding some of the hassles of regular air travel. One-way tickets between D.C. and New York start at $395.
Eight-passenger Cessna Caravans will operate from Jet Aviation’s private facility at Dulles, meaning passengers can arrive as little as 10 minutes before departure and can park free.
Dulles falls within a less tightly restricted region of airspace around Washington, making it easier for Tailwind to operate from. Passengers aren’t required to go through a TSA screening before boarding since they won’t enter the airport terminal.
“We are confident that our Washington area IAD service will resonate well with our customers and are looking forward to providing this unique service,” said Alan Ram, Tailwind’s chief executive.
Paul Bobson, vice president for airline business development for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates Dulles, welcomed Tailwind to the airport. In a statement, Bobson said the new service “will bring the two largest domestic economies closer for business and visitor traffic alike.”
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