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Aviation Museum, New Seaplane Base In Miami

Thu Mar 21, 2002 6:15 am

The City of Miami and Chalk's Ocean Airlines, the world's oldest airline (they did start operations before KLM, though who is oldest is often debated), have reached in agreement on a new Downtown Miami Seaplane Base. The new $12,5M Downtown Miami Aviation Centre & Airport will break ground on Watson Island this November. The three-story, 45,000 square foot "airport", located in downtown Miami, will feature a terminal building, check-in facilities, US Customers facilities, offices for the Miami Sports Authority, a Miami Visitors Centre, and, most intrestingly, a small Miami aviation Museum and a roof-top public viewing concourse. Right now, Chalk's Ocean Airways has 3 daily flights from downtown Miami to Ft. Lauderdale, Bimni, and Nassau, with that number expected to grow greatly as Chalk's, which continues to average excellent loads, expands thier fleet of Gumman Mallard seaplanes. Chalk's hopes to expand thier network from Miami to include Orlando, Key West, West Palm Beach, and Tampa in the future. Chalk's owner Jim Confalone signed a 30-year lease to use the airport (at $30 000 a year), today. "Chalk's is to Miami," Mr. Confalone said, "what cable cars are to San Francisco. The vast majority of people in South Florida want Chalk's to remain as a common sight coming and going through Government Cut as they have been since 1917." This is great news for Miami. After introducing service to Ft. Lauderdale, Chalk's moved a large amount of thier flights to Ft. Lauderdale (and will be offering six-times daily FLL-PID service this summer) and there was fear they would leave downtown Miami for good.

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