Recently Allen Howell, CEO of Corporate Flight Management< Inc., wrote up BVI Airways and was very positive. We quote his post in ‘BVI Airways started a few months ago providing point-to-point service between Tortola and St. Maarten and Antigua. They also do charter flights to the other islands. The airline was started by three US pilots who have worked in the regional airline and air charter industry for most of their aviation careers. They saw an opportunity to fill an unmet demand for travel between islands and took the leap of faith to start a small airline far from home. If you are going to start an airline it may as well be in a nice location like Tortola

‘BVI Airways has an excellent business plan that allows them to be flexible with their routes as travel needs change with seasonality and times of the year when the islands have special events like carnival and homecomings.

‘After a short 14 hour visit to Tortola we flew up to San Juan PR and met with a startup airline, Lebair, that will be providing both scheduled and on demand charter service out of San Juan to the Dominican Republic and other islands within a 250-mile radius of San Juan. They share a similar business plan as BVI Airways but serve a different niche market of travelers.

‘As I think about these two operations and other operators we have gotten to know in the Caribbean, including operators in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, I see a group of small airlines that are meeting demand for point-to-point intra-island and inter-island travel which the major airlines and their commuter feeders don’t meet.

‘From the perspective of the operators we work with, the economic outlook for Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands is good. Like the U.S., they have waded through the recession, but the allure of the islands continues to spur development of new hotels and resorts and all the support businesses that go with it. With new resort development and tourism growth come jobs and economic growth for the entire region. As more travelers come to the Caribbean from Europe, North America and South America the demand for inter-island air travel will grow.

‘These small airlines that meet the market demand are poised to prosper as they provide a very critical transportation component to the region’s economic development.’