Simmons Air startup scheduled September 20
By Don Klein
Imagine a day trip to Baltimore to see an Oriole game or a Broadway road show or a Meyerhoff concert and be back that evening without enduring a tedious highway roundtrip? Or how about catching a flight to California or Europe out of Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport while leaving your car at the beach?
Impossible? Not anymore. Starting next month travelers will be able to go between Baltimore and Ocean City in as much time as it now takes to drive from the Carousel Hotel to Salisbury. They will be able to fly by a new, convenient and affordable air service.
Starting Tuesday, September 20 Simmons Air, a regional airline, will launch the first year- round service between Maryland’s largest city and its favorite resort area. And it will be within the means of most people. The 35-minute flight will cost $45 per person one way.
The service will be provided nine times a day in both directions every day of the year. “It will be an exciting adventure for air travelers,” promised Wayne Simmons, president of Simmons Air, Inc.
Flights will leave every other hour from Ocean City Municipal Airport starting at 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. Similar flights will depart under the same schedule from BWI Airport. Service will be provided by four, twin-engine Cessna 404 and 402Cs aircraft capable of seating nine passengers.
Asked at an airport press conference at Ocean City if his airline could hold to the $45 fare in this period of rising fuel costs, Simmons said, “We studied this for some time and planned for all contingencies,” then added, “this is a long term commitment.”
Modeled after old-time airline hospitality when people could run up to the gate at the last minute, purchase a ticket and board immediately, the Simmons Air service is designed to make the trips not just quick, but smooth and untroubled. From terminal to plane should take less than 10 minutes, the airline says. Reservations, of course, are welcomed.
For nostalgia, the waiting area at the Ocean City terminal is adorned with an authentic World War II aircraft propeller. Also, in imitation of those bygone years, each Simmons aircraft will have a 1940s wartime pin-up painted on its side. The atmosphere may be fashioned by yesteryear but the safety and security is up-to-date. It will be “at the highest level,” the airline contended.
Ocean City residents headed for BWI to catch flights can leave their automobiles at the OC airport for free. Others can arrange for van service to pick them up and return them to their homes located between the Fenwick Island to Salisbury geographic areas for $9. Rental cars will be available at the beach and BWI terminals.
Simmons said Baltimore residents can take a walk on the beach, have lunch with a client overlooking the Atlantic Ocean or play a round of golf and be back at home that same day. Ocean City residents can catch a Ravens game, dine at the Inner Harbor, or visit a museum or the aquarium and be home to sleep in their own beds that night.
For those who choose to fly, the loathsome prospect of traveling more than three hours in heavy traffic to get from Baltimore to Ocean City and then after a short time at the beach doing it all over again on the way back, is at an end. They can fly.
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