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New Caribbean startup BVI Airways readies for operations

By Alan Dron From Air Transport World

British Virgin Islands startup BVI Airways is ready to start operations, the company said.

“BVI Airways is now open for business,” the airline’s president and CEO Jerry Willoughby said. “We have already received a number of intra-Caribbean charter requests and with our extra capacity are very interested in taking on this business.”

The airline has two, 86-seater Avro RJ100 regional jets, with a third scheduled to arrive in the next few months.

“BVIA is also looking to develop regularly scheduled service between the BVI and other Caribbean international gateways,” Willoughby said. “There are many opportunities to add flights to markets such as Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, Barbados, Antigua, St. Maarten, and Turks and Caicos. These markets are ripe for faster service, more comfortable planes [and] increased reliability.”

He believes the Avros would prove a good fit for many smaller Caribbean airports with short runways that “lack the airport capacity to support large-scale commercial airlift and have thus been forced to limit both the passenger volume and routes to small, noisy, and less comfortable propeller-driven airplanes.”

One of the most significant planned services for BVI Airways will be between Terrance B Lettsome International Airport on Tortola and Miami International Airport. BVI Airways has an application for the route lodged with US Department of Transportation and Department of Homeland Security.

There are currently no direct air services between the US and BVI, as most travelers must connect in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Flight time between Miami and Tortola will be two-and-a-half hours.

The airline has said in the past it hopes to be able to start services on the route in April or May, but this is dependent on progress through the regulatory process.

IMAGE: BVI Airways

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