Road Town, Tortola – BVI Airways announced today it has received a revised Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from its U.K.-based regulator, Air Safety Support International, the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority for the United Kingdom Overseas Territories. The AOC grants BVI Airways authority to operate its Avro RJ 100 jet aircraft from Beef Island airport in Tortola, BVI.
“This is a significant step forward toward commencing the first-ever non-stop flights between the United States and the BVI,” said Jerry Willoughby, President and CEO of BVI Airways. “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 U.S. We look forward to completing the process so we may begin providing our much anticipated scheduled non-stop jet service between Tortola and Miami.”
To obtain the necessary approvals to operate in the United States, BVIA is applying to the Department of Transportation for Foreign Air Carrier Economic Authority. Once the application is accepted, the next step is to file with the FAA’s International Field Office near Miami for operating authority under FAR Part 129. Concurrently, BVIA will be completing the required applications and certifications with TSA and Homeland Security. The timeframe to complete the entire process is estimated to be approximately 60 days. Once approved, BVI Airways will be allowed to begin ticket sales and the first official flights can be scheduled. They project that the Miami to Tortola flights may begin in late April to mid-May. “We are working as fast as we can to make this happen,” said Willoughby. “But the regulatory process, by its nature, is outside of our control.”
With the AOC from ASSI, however, BVIA has the authority to fly intra-Caribbean scheduled and charter flights and once they receive their United States approvals, they will be able to fly charter flights from US as well.
BVIA has already purchased two British-made AVRO RJ 100’s; four-engine jets that will have seating for 85 passengers, including 12 seats in Premier Class. Flight times between Miami and Tortola will be approximately 2.5 hours.