Date ArticleType
1/17/2018 St. Pete News

Plans for First Airline Monument on Approach to New Pier

January 17, 2018



A press conference presenting plans for a Monument to the First Airline will be held on Friday, January 19, 1030 AM, at the Flying Boat Brewing Company, 1776 11th Avenue North, St. Petersburg.

Over 100 years ago, on New Year’s Day 1914, the world’s first airline was launched from the Central Yacht Basin in St. Petersburg. The name of the airline was the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line. It flew between downtown St. Petersburg and downtown Tampa. Renowned pioneer aviator Tony Jannus was the chief pilot.

A coalition of area organizations has joined together as “Flight 2014, Inc.” to plan and raise funds for the monument celebrating St. Petersburg and Tampa as the birthplace of commercial aviation. The mayor and city council have approved the concept for the monument to be located on the historic site of the original hangar on the approach to the New Pier. It is planned that a central feature of the monument will be a replica of the original Benoist Flying Airboat, the first airliner. Phil Graham Landscape Architecture has donated design services for the surrounding plaza.

Persons attending will include Mayor Rick Kriseman, City Council Member Ed Montanari (who is also an airline pilot), and St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce CEO Chris Steinocher. Also attending will be representatives of the Pheil Family. Early St. Petersburg Mayor Abe Pheil was the first passenger on the First Airline.

Flight 2014 is seeking funding support from both the aviation industry and the Tampa Bay community. Major contributions have already been received from Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. Contributions may be made on-line at No city funds are being requested for the sculpture.
Flight 2014 Inc. is composed of representatives from the Florida Aviation Historical Society, the St. Petersburg Museum of History, the Tony Jannus Distinguished Aviation Society, the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, and others. Flight 2014, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, also planned the centennial celebrations for the First Airline in 2014, from which its takes its name.

For more information contact Will Michaels, Flight 2014 President, at 727-420-9195 or