Friday, January 27, 2017

British Virgin Islands carrier seeks approval to serve US

British Virgin Island carrier BVI Airways plans seek US approval to serve Florida's Miami International Airport (MIA), after receiving its air operator’s certificate (AOC) from UK-based regulator Air Safety Support International (ASSI).

ASSI is a wholly owned subsidiary of the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority.

“This is a significant step forward toward commencing the first-ever, nonstop flights between the US and the BVI,” BVI Airways president and CEO Jerry Willoughby said. “With the AOC in hand, we can immediately file with the US DOT [Department Of Transportation] to obtain the necessary approvals to fly into the US.”

The carrier is applying for foreign air carrier economic authority. Once that application is accepted, the next step will be to file with FAA’s International Field Office near Miami, Florida, for operating authority under FAR Part 129. Concurrently, the airline will be applying for the necessary authorizations from the US Transportation Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security.

The airline expects the process to take 60 days, after which it can schedule first services and begin ticket sales. Flights will operate from Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (previously known as Beef Island Airport) on Tortola. Flight times to Miami will be around 2.5 hours.

The airline hopes it will be able to start flights in late April to mid-May: “We are working as fast as we can to make this happen,” Willoughby said. “But the regulatory process, by its nature, is outside our control.”

BVI Airways has acquired two BAE Systems Avro RJ100 regional jets, with a third expected to arrive shortly. The aircraft are being refurbished and be used by BVI in a two-class, 85-passenger layout, including 12 seats in premier class. 

(Alan Dron - ATWOnline News)

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