BVI Airways announced this morning that it has received a revised Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from its United Kingdom-based regulator – Air Safety Support International.
The certificate grants the airline authority to operate its Avro Regional Jet 100 from the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island, British Virgin Islands (BVI).
The privately owned BVI Airways said, with the issuance of the revised certificate, it has becomes the territory’s first licensed jet airline.
“This is a significant milestone for both BVI Airways and the people of the BVI,” said Jerry Willoughby, president and chief executive officer of BVI Airways.
The next step in the process to have non-stop flights between the BVI and Miami in the United States is to get permission from United States authorities.
“With the AOC in hand, we can immediately file with the United States Department of Transportation to obtain the necessary approvals to fly into the United States. We look forward to completing the process so we may begin providing our much-anticipated scheduled non-stop jet service between Tortola and Miami,” added Willoughby.
It is not yet clear when the already delayed flights will start. The BVI Government, which is investing $7 million into the venture, said it is crucial to solve the major airlift problem facing the territory.
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith has maintained that the airlift problem has negative implications for the territory’s main revenue earners – tourism and financial services.
BVI Airways, which already started staff recruitment, has opened an office in Road Town.
It also already purchased two jet aircraft. Describing the planes, the airline previously said: “The AVRO Regional Jet (RJ) 100 will have a seating capacity of 86… The 4-engine plane has a cruising altitude of 31,000 feet, and a speed of approximately 500mph. At that speed, the flight times between Miami and Tortola should be approximately 2.5 hours long.”
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