Silver Airways (3M, Fort Lauderdale Int'l) has requested “critical and immediate” federal financial aid “in order for the airline to survive the most dire crisis the industry has ever faced.”

Steve Rossum, chief executive of the regional carrier serving Florida and the Caribbean, wrote a letter dated March 16 to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and Florida senators Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, stressing that “in order to continue providing critical air transportation in the face of Covid-19 [...] direct assistance is both respectfully requested and required.”

“Our passenger bookings have dropped dramatically over the past month, and we are experiencing an even greater and unprecedented decline in forward bookings each day, and ever-increasing cancellations as citizens and visitors are encouraged not to travel. We had expected to carry over 1,000,000 passengers in 2020, but expect to fall far short of that target,” the letter said.

“Our airline and employees have already faced - and are continuing to recover from - numerous recent disasters of historic magnitude, including Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Dorian,” it added.

The airline is owned by Versa Capital Management, LLC, a Philadelphia-based private equity firm, and has about 1,000 employees. It links 25 destinations, including Fort Lauderdale Int'l, Key West Int'l, Orlando Int'l, Tampa Int'l, San Juan Luis Muñoz Marin in Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, according to the ch-aviation capacities module, and also provides military support.

All of this is gravely at risk, the letter said, as is its “connecting service for many of America’s most important passenger airlines,” including United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Silver operates a fleet of 27 aircraft which includes seven ATR42-600s, three ATR72-600s, and nineteen Saab 340B(Plus)s. Its Puerto Rican subsidiary Seaborne Airlines (BB, San Juan Luis Muñoz Marin) has a fleet of seven Saab 340Bs and two DHC-6-300 seaplanes operated by Canada’s Kenn Borek Air (4K, Calgary).