The Department of Transportation (DOT) in the United States has given the privately owned BVI Airways permission to fly into that country directly from the British Virgin Islands, adding that the airline appears financially and operationally qualified.
The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs Susan McDermott issued the one-year authorization, which runs from April 28 this year through to April 28, 2018.
That go-ahead follows previous approval from the United Kingdom’s Air Safety Support International.
DOT, in announcing the approval, said the basis for its action is a long-standing bilateral agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom.
It stated that the airline, into which the BVI government pumped $7 million, appears to be financially sound. DOT also noted that BVI Airway’s application was also cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“Based on the record in this case, we found that BVI Airways is operationally and financially qualified to perform its proposed services. We also note that the applicant is properly licensed by its homeland to perform the proposed services. In addition, on April 10, 2017, the FAA advised us that it knows of no reason why we should act unfavorably on the applicant’s request,” DOT explained.
BVI gov’t helps defeat VI Airlink
DOT also noted that VI Airlink and InterCaribbean Airways Limited jointly filed an objection to both BVI Airways’ application, and to its motion for confidential treatment of its financial submissions.
BVI Airways filed a reply.
VI Airlink and InterCaribbean then filed an additional responsive pleading to their application, and a further pleading in opposition to BVI Airways’ motion for confidential treatment.
DOT emphatically stated that it also received a letter from the BVI government in support of the BVI Airways application.
“As to the objections of VI Airlink and InterCaribbean, we find nothing in their arguments that persuades us to withhold the bilaterally-authorized scheduled authority requested by BVI Airways, or the charter authority requested by the applicant in light of the sufficient comity and reciprocity that exists with the United Kingdom,” DOT explained.
It continued: “We note that the applicant (BVI Airways) served its application in accordance with the appropriate Department procedural rules, and thus find no merit in the assertions of the objecting carriers regarding improper service. With respect to the concerns of the objecting carriers with the record as to BVI Airways’ ownership structure, we find that the record presented sufficient clarity for us to proceed on the application.”
“Finally, with regard to the competition issue, we see no persuasive basis to withhold authority for the introduction of these new services, particularly taking into account the strong support for approval of the application submitted by the BVI government,” added DOT.
Director of Flight Operations at the BVI Airways Bradley Goggin last month said the private carrier intends to commence its already delayed flights in June between the Terrence B Lettsome International Airport in the BVI and Miami in the United States.