Looks like La Compagnie won’t be the only all-business class airline in the near future. Bermuda-based BermudAir has taken delivery of the first of two Embraer E175 aircraft which it plans to operate flights to the United States.
Registered VQ-BLU, the E175 was ferried from Muskoka Airport in Gravenhurst, Ontario to Bermuda, formally joining the BermudAir fleet on August 19th. The aircraft is expected to return to Muskoka for final preparations before entering commercial service.
BermudAir received its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) on July 25, 2023 and plans to start service to the United States as soon as they receive their Foreign Air Carrier Permit.
The Bermudian carrier will operate out of the L.F. Wade International Airport (TXKF), and plans to fly to three cities in the United States. In their application dated May 5, 2023, they plan to operate the following routes.
The airline has leased two 10-year old Embraer E175 jets from leasing company Azorra. Both aircraft previously flew for the now defunct FlyBe and are registered as VQ-BLU and VQ-BLW. Both aircraft are configured with just 30 business class in 15 rows with a 1-1 layout. Previously these aircraft seated 88 passengers in an all-economy configuration.
According to FlightRadar24, VQ-BLW has been busy performing a number of proving flights to cities including Boston, London Ontario and White Plains.
The airline was founded and will be led by CEO Adam D. Scott, alongside John Bavister serving as the company’s CFO. They are the same duo behind British business-class startup carrier Odyssey Airlines. Unlike BermudAir, Odyssey has yet to launch operations even after being announced 13 years ago in 2010.
The airline estimated that it could make as much as USD 38.7 million in its first year of operations based on 75% loads with ticket prices ranging from USD 750-900.
Given Bermuda’s small size, the market has always been challenging with service coming and going depending on the time of year. With no home-based airline, travelers heading to and from the island have always been at the mercy of foreign carriers and their ever changing schedules.
On the upside, business traffic may prove to be fruitful given that they’re operating out of the more convenient White Plains rather than the more hectic and expensive New York metro area airports. Couple that with the fact that Bermuda has the highest cost of living globally, many business travelers choose to fly in and out for short periods of time rather than staying long term.
However the airline will have to really prove itself to convince business travelers to consider their service. Given their very aggressive schedule frequency, they will have to offer unique services to sway business travelers away from the big brands which offer a host of additional benefits such as mileage rewards, lounge access and more.
Even with regular service, the airline will still need to adjust its prices to also cater to allow for “easier” access to the regular Bermudian. It’s one thing to have an airline serving the island, but what’s the point if ticket prices are well above what the regular citizen and resident can pay?
Even with flights from Boston and Ft. Lauderdale, there are going to be low points during the year where the traffic simply may not be sufficient given that they face U.S. competition from neighboring American cities. Maybe charter flights during the low season?
With service expected to start very soon, let’s see how this new start up fares.
[Featured Photo: BermudAir]