The launch of a Bermuda-based boutique airline catering to business-class travellers is one step closer to taking off after being granted a licence.

BermudAir plans to operate two Embraer E175 aircraft on flights between Bermuda and the US East Coast.

Adam Scott, the chief executive officer of BermudAir, confirmed yesterday that the company had been granted an air operating certificate from the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority — one of several hurdles that airlines have to overcome before getting airborne.

To mark the “milestone” event, Mr Scott and dignitaries held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its customer service offices at LF Wade International Airport.

Mr Scott said: “We’re grateful that BermudAir’s work to set up a world-class airline in Bermuda has been validated via the rigorous AOC assessment process.

“This is a major milestone for our team towards fully launching the airline and being able to serve this market. Both the BCAA and BermudAir teams have put in a lot of hours to get here and we appreciate everyone’s commitment throughout the process.”

Mr Scott was unable to say when BermudAir would make its inaugural flight. Although BCAA certification demonstrates that an airline is competent to safely operate its aircraft in accordance with Bermuda’s regulations and standards, the fledgeling company still has to get approval from US regulators before it can spread its wings.

But he later said that approval from the US Department of Transportation was “imminent”. A company spokeswoman added that service was planned to begin late this summer.

The company did not provide details of which cities in the US it was planning to fly to. But it has been reported that Boston, Fort Lauderdale and White Plains are likely destinations.

Mr Scott said BermudAir was looking to employ about 80 staff, who will imbue the company with “the flavours of Bermuda and the island’s renowned hospitality”.

He said: “We want to be Bermuda’s airline and so we want to have Bermudians represented throughout the organisation.”

He added that BermudAir would strengthen Bermuda’s position as an international business hub and tourism destination.

He said: “In examining this unique market, we see the opportunity to provide premier service and deliver additional business and premium leisure travellers to Bermuda.

“We’re dedicated to providing exceptional service and will provide curated onboard offerings that will showcase the flavours of Bermuda, while reflecting the island’s renowned hospitality.”

Typically the E175 can accommodate 88 passengers travelling economy but BermudAir’s two aircraft have been stripped down to 30 seats each.

But Mr Scott insisted that BermudAir was not limiting itself to an exclusive, niche market of well-heeled travellers.

He said: “We are going upmarket of course in terms of our product but I think the product is going to be relevant for anybody for whom time is an issue or for efficiency from a Bermuda perspective.

“We’ll provide something that’s new and unique that’s going to be most relevant for the Bermuda market.

“The critical thing here is that we’re the first airline that is centred in Bermuda. Bermuda is at the centre of everything we do.

“As we’ve prepared towards launch, we’ve been establishing partnerships with Bermuda businesses to source products and services locally as much as possible. We’re also hiring locally and internationally.

“We’re ensuring we have people who are qualified to meet the requirements of an airline team and also aligned with our philosophy to put Bermuda at the centre of everything we do.”

Mr Scott, a Canadian who previously worked at Goldman Sachs, described Bermuda as “his happy place”.

He said: “This may sound personal, and it is. Bermuda is a special place and I have been privileged to develop many links here for almost ten years, personally and professionally.

“Receiving positive feedback from our colleagues in the tourism and international business sectors about the prospect of BermudAir has been very gratifying.

“We’re honoured that others share our vision and, once launched, we will strive to live up to it every day.”

Mr Scott said the BCAA air operating certificate process was “rigorous — and rightly so”.

He added: “We understand that the prospect of a totally new airline for Bermuda is a proposition that requires detailed assessment in the overall interests of the island.

“Our motivation in establishing this airline is aligned with that objective — we want to both serve and represent this beautiful island paradise.”

Wayne Furbert, the Minister of Transport, who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, praised Mr Scott and his team for their “imagination and vision”.

He said: “As a government, we take immense pride in witnessing a significant milestone for Bermuda, the impending launch of the first-ever locally established Bermuda-based airline — BermudAir.

“This marks a pivotal step forward for expanding our island’s aviation sector and symbolises the potential for growth, progress and self-sufficiency within our borders.

“The introduction of BermudAir will undoubtedly significantly contribute to developing air services in Bermuda.

“As a Bermuda-based airline, BermudAir will enhance connectivity, bolster economic growth and promote travel to our beautiful island.

“Moreover, BermudAir’s operations will generate numerous direct and indirect employment opportunities, ranging from pilots, flight attendants and ground staff to administrative, maintenance and customer service roles.

“This will also fuel demand for ancillary services such as hotels, restaurants, and transportation, providing essential support to local businesses.

“I extend our congratulations to the BermudAir Team for their vision and tenacity. I wish them much success as they launch the airline.”

The airport office will serve as a customer service hub for passengers and operational base for the airline’s crew, once service officially begins.

Source: The Royal Gazette

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