ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – There is a South Florida migration of snowbirds, and an airline is helping them get here. The first Swoop plane touched down at St. Pete International Airport on Friday, bringing Canadians to the Bay Area.
Add another stopover to destinations for Swoop, a must-have service after Sun Wing Airlines stops flying to PIE.
âWe’ve never seen anything like it. Like water and everything. It’s just fantastic, âsaid Rose Moncada of Toronto.
Swoop Airlines made its maiden flight to St. Petersburg from Toronto, letting out nearly 200 Canadians eager to take advantage of perfect winter conditions in Florida.
âAs we come out of the effects of the pandemic, we can see our business grow and prosper, and what an incredible partner with St. Pete Airport,â said Shane Workman of Swoop Airlines.
Swoop wants to make visiting Florida easy and affordable. Something the local economy supports.
âWe were waiting to hear the big news about whether or not they are opening the borders and when we found out we got super excited,â said a business owner in Dunedin.
Entrepreneurs rely on international snowbirds. They keep things going until the spring warm-up.
âIt stimulates the economy. We get a lot of business, and having it here is a huge blessing to us, âa business owner told 8 On Your Side.
It also helps the airport, as it still reports a 10% drop from that date in 2019 before the pandemic hits.
âWe are happy to finally see the borders open. We have a lot of Canadians, as you probably know, with a lot of second homes here. We really can’t wait to see them return to our community, âsaid Tom Jewsbury of PIE.
The airport hopes to attract more international carriers, especially since some figures show that 3 million Canadians visit the Sunshine State each year.