Following my appointment, a year ago, I was asked by the media what is the top issue I would tackle first. My answer was that I had three priorities, they were:
#1. Air Service Development
#2. Air Service Development and
#3. Air service development.
At the Ministry of Transport, our priorities have not changed.
Increasing airlift and air service has been and will continue to be our top priority. Someone once said “ You can’t hit a home run unless you step up to the plate. You can’t catch a fish unless you put your line in the water. You can’t reach your goals if you don’t try.”
I can stand here today and say that quote represents my entire team and their drive to deliver excellence in air service development.
I shared with the members of the Parliament in February that we understand the challenges that airlines are having globally but we will not let up, and we will not let go until we
increase air service to Bermuda. I promised then that we would continue to pursue meetings with American and other airlines, which we have.
The Ministry of Transport along with our partner stakeholders have been steadily working to deliver increased airlift services.
Today, I am pleased to announce that our team has delivered.
On October 11th, I and members of Bermuda’s air service development team - Lester Nelson, CEO of Bermuda Airport Authority; Aaron Adderley, President of Skyport, and Jamari
Douglas, Vice-President of Marketing, Bermuda Tourism Authority met with American Airlines executives at their headquarters near Dallas, Texas.
American Airlines briefed us on the performance of their flights to Bermuda from JFK/New York, Philadelphia, Charlotte and Miami. American Airlines reported a strong recovery on each route since 2019. American will relaunch its flights between Washington Reagan National Airport [DCA] and LF Wade International Airport [BDA] in Bermuda with seasonal flight resuming in April 2024 and continuing to the end of August 2024. The five-month seasonal daily schedule to Washington will be two months longer than the schedule in 2019, the last time there was a direct Washington connection.
This is significant to Bermuda as pointed out by the BTA, Washington is Bermuda’s fourth largest market, and they will increase their collaboration with American for the relaunch
of the Washington direct flight.
American has also confirmed that direct daily, year-round service to Miami will return on November 5th from Miami to Bermuda, joining the existing year-round service from JFK and
As reported by in a recent media statement by American Airlines: “With this service, next April American will operate up to 35 weekly flights to BDA from its hubs in Charlotte
[CLT], New York [JFK], Miami [MIA], Philadelphia [PHL] and DCA, strengthening its position as the largest U.S. airline in Bermuda.”
At our meeting with American Airlines, I extended the Bermuda Government’s appreciation for providing air service to Bermuda and for rebuilding their direct flights to
Bermuda since 2019. There is reason for us to applaud American Airlines’ commitment to Bermuda and their growth plans including the resumption of direct, seasonal air service.
We have had success this year with JetBlue's return of daily service to Boston, significantly enhancing our connectivity and local passenger satisfaction specifically for medical
travel. The reintroduction of this vital route has not only increased our travel options but has also solidified our commitment to providing convenient and efficient air travel.
Furthermore, the launch of BermudAir, which now connects us with three significant east-coast markets, Boston, Westchester New York and Fort Lauderdale. This marks a
significant milestone in our efforts to expand our reach and offer more choices for travel. With this new connection, doors have been opened to exciting opportunities and making our region an even more vibrant and accessible travel destination.
Delta, Air Canada and British Airways will continue to operate in the winter service providing airlift to Toronto, New York, Atlanta and the United Kingdom. American Airlines has introduced a larger aircraft departing from New York, equipped with an increased number of business class seats.
Following our meeting with Air Canada we discussed converting back to their traditional aircraft which they will do in the near future, which would mean additional business class seats as well.
We are not finished and there is much work remaining to be done.
When this team and other stakeholders met in September, our discussions centered around key topics such as enhancing air service operations during the shoulder months of
November to March, marketing plans, capacity projections, fostering relationships with potential air service providers and assessing hotel occupancy during winter.
The Ministry of Transport remains committed to actively engaged all stakeholder in these discussions, sharing constructive ideas and jointly reviewing strategies for advancing air service
development. We will continue meeting with other airlines and continue to build on the relationship we have with our current service providers.
Nelson Mandela said “a winner is a dreamer who never gives up”. We will keep on dreaming and we will never give up.
We have delivered and will deliver even more.