Tropic Ocean Airways (TI, Fort Lauderdale Int'l) is hoping to secure approval to launch a seaplane shuttle between Antigua and Barbuda as early as December 1, 2018, the Antigua Observer has reported.

The carrier has already filed for a permit with the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) and has received explicit support from the Antiguan Ministry of Aviation.

Currently, air services between the two islands are limited to charter flights operated by ABM Air (Antigua), Caribbean Helicopters (Antigua), and Montserrat Airways (5M, Montserrat). The government has been trying to set up its own unit to operate the shuttle, Barbuda Airways (Barbuda), since 2015. The airline, a joint-venture with Caribbean Helicopters, launched services in July 2018 but abruptly terminated them after just a few weeks. An investigation is ongoing into the alleged theft of parts by the government's partner.

"There are some challenges and difficulties we have in terms of the serviceability of the aircraft involved and getting the necessary license from the civil aviation authority," Minister of Information Melford Nicholas said.

Eventually, the government sees Tropic Ocean Airways' seaplane operations as complementary to Barbuda Airways' services.

Tropic Ocean Airways currently focuses on scheduled and charter seaplane services between Florida and the Bahamas.