BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Federal Aviation Administration has approved a small Massachusetts airline to fly seaplanes flights between Boston Harbor and New York's East River.
If Cape Air's proposal gets final approval from the Boston Planing and Development Agency, seaplanes will be running four round trips a day from Boston Harbor to New York City as part of a year-long pilot program.
On Wednesday, the BPDA board will consider allowing Cape Air to land its seaplanes in the water near Logan Airport, then taxiing over to Long Wharf where they would get about 250 square feet to load and unload passengers.
To allow for that space, the board would amend Boston Waterboat Marina's current lease for berthing boats at Long Wharf. The seaplanes would also be given 96,625 square feet of surface are on the harbor itself for the seaplanes to take off and land.
According to a BPDA memorandum, if the proposal passes there will be several restrictions for the company. Cape Air would be the only airline allowed to use the facility during the one year pilot program.
Flight schedules would also have to be subordinate to existing water ferry schedules. The seaplanes would not be permitted to refuel at Long Wharf, and they would have to be stored somewhere else overnight. Planes would be required to yield the right of way to waterborne traffic, which should ensure no interruption or delays in ferry service from the harbor.
Cape Air would also pay fees to use Long Wharf, which would be split equally between the marina and the BPDA. According to BPDA staff, the authority is expected to earn at least $40,000 over the duration of the pilot program.
Mayor Marty Walsh has called it "another potential opportunity for travel in the city."
"We looked at this before," Mayor Walsh told WBZ NewsRadio's Mike Macklin. "This is certainly something that as long as the community is comfortable with it, I think it's a great way of travel for people of Boston... I'm excited about the opportunity."
The BPDA will consider Cape Air's proposal at its board meeting on Wednesday February 12 at 3:30 p.m., which will be held in its ninth-floor conference room in City Hall.
WBZ NewsRadio's Mike Macklin reports: