PRESS RELEASE San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Tropic Air announces that effective November 13th, 2019 it will commence regularly scheduled air tour flights from Placencia to the Blue Hole. These new flights will initially operate on Wednesdays, will take approximately one hour, and will complement the existing scheduled Blue Hole tour flights from San Pedro, Caye Caulker and Belize City Municipal.
“For some time we have been working with our Customers in Placencia to find a way to make these flights happen”, said John E. Greif III, President of Tropic Air. “We have always offered Blue Hole charters from the South, but the time is now right to offer a scheduled flight for the growing tourism market in the peninsula. We know visitors to Placencia want the opportunity to experience Belize’s number one attraction, the way it should be seen, from the air, and we will deliver.”
Flights will depart at 11am on air conditioned Cessna Caravan 208 aircraft, seating 11 passengers in an “air tour” layout. Tropic Air is a certified tour operator and, as such, Blue Hole flights will have a pilot that is also a certified tour guide on board. Special introductory pricing will be available shortly and tours can be booked via local resorts, agents and Tropic Air.
About Tropic Air With nearly 40 years of service, Tropic Air currently flies over 200 daily scheduled flights with 20 aircraft to 15 destinations in Belize, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. Tropic Air now employs over 360 team members and will carry over 300,000 passengers and 425,000 items of freight system wide this year. It has two additional aircraft on order.
Tropic Air is a member of the Latin American Airlines Association (ALTA), and recently successfully completed IATA’s Industry Standard Safety Audit for the third time, after joining the program in 2015. Tropic also won the Traveler’s Choice Award in the Specialty and Leisure Category in Latin America in the 2019 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for Airlines.
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It’s called the “Lechero” (español for Milk Run) but could just as easily be known as “The Supply Run” or “The Grocery Run.” If you’re looking out the window of one of our Cessna Caravans, you might call it the “Victoria Peak” or “Barrier Reef Run” or if you are visiting Belize, maybe just “part of my vacation”.
How the Lechero earned its name
In aviation, the term milk run refers to a scheduled flight with many stops. In shipping or logistics, a milk run refers to a round trip that facilitates both distribution and collection, similar to the way a milkman used to deliver and pick up around the neighborhoods of old. It also refers to the dairy industry practice of picking up from different suppliers – when one truck collects milk from several farmers for delivery to a central location. For our flights, all these definitions seem to fit, and so the nickname has stuck.
Our lecheros are the multiple daily circuits of Tropic Air flights that hop between the towns in Southern Belize, often serving as a lifeline for the communities that we serve. In some ways, the lechero flights reflect our airline’s heritage of pioneering pilots who transported our mail, medicine, food and the adventurous tourists to all kinds of places throughout Belize. “This is the original Tropic Air,” said John Greif, President of the company and one of our original pilots. “Its real old school – it’s like when we were small … These are the flights that built Belize. Not only is the scenery beautiful and the people we carry, wonderful, but I wouldn’t want to fly anywhere else.”
Flights the become part of the adventure
One of the lechero routes, Flight 351, starts at Belize City and stops (maybe) at the Belize International Airport, then Dangriga, and finally Placencia before landing in Punta Gorda. This flight is repeated many times each day, every day, always with passengers, and always with a wide assortment of cargo down below and perhaps even on the back seat. It is not uncommon to see birthday cakes, flowers heading to a wedding, TVs, or even a turtle headed to a rehabilition facility. One time there was even a baby manatee.
Tips for the Milk Run
While flying south, if you want views of the mountains, rivers and historic towns that dot the coast, be sure to sit, camera in hand, on the right side of the aircraft. The left side will get views of the Caribbean Sea and islands that string the inside of the Barrier Reef. On a clear day you can even get a view of the mountains of Honduras. “If you get a day that’s clear, it’s spectacular,” says Captain Alberto Ancona.
Passengers are required to stay on the aircraft during the brief stops at each airport. Only those scheduled to get off/on at that stop are permitted to do so, but if you’d like to spend more time checking out each town, a reservations agent can help you book a flight with layovers in each stop along the way. Call (+501) 226-2380 or email us at email@example.com and we can help.
During a recent stop in Placencia, Captain Misrae Montalvo spoke of his longtime affection for the Milk Run – and all of the interesting experiences they’ve encountered along the way.
“What’s the strangest thing you’ve had on board?” we asked.
“Nothing is strange to me anymore,” he said. “I just know I am headed home”. You see, Captain Misrae is also from Punta Gorda, at the far end of this lechero. For him, it is the way he sees his family every night, it is also his commute home.
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