Posted on: 13 March 2014 by Mark Howells
BVI Airways has closed on the sale of the airline to an as-yet unidentified New York-based merchant bank, a move that significantly reinforces the carrier’s capital base in advance of proposed fleet and route expansion throughout the Eastern Caribbean.
As a result of the sale, longtime aviation industry executive, Jerry Willoughby, has been named president and CEO. He joins BVI Airways co-founder and COO, Luke Smith, on the airline’s executive leadership team.
“We are extremely fortunate to source in one transaction the type of growth capital and executive-level aviation industry talent that can take BVI Airways to the forefront of Caribbean carriers in short order,” Smith remarked. “With our capital base and management infrastructure fortified, we now have the tools and resources to expand and reward the travelling public in the Eastern Caribbean with an elevated level of air service, professionalism, and reliability.”
“BVI Airways presents a unique opportunity to fund the expansion of a well-run carrier with a superb safety and compliance record along with a reputation for excellent on-time performance and customer service,” observed Willoughby. “We look forward to building upon BVI Airways’ already solid foundation by working closely with the various communities we serve to tailor our routes and flight times in an effort to optimise passenger convenience, while also keeping costs in check.”
Willoughby brings more than 35 years of aviation industry experience to his new leadership position with BVI Airways. The bulk of his civil aviation career was spent with Delta Air Lines, where he logged more than 17,500 hours as an international Check Captain. Over the past seven years, Willoughby has worked as an aviation consultant with an emphasis on management, auditing, regulatory compliance and start-up airline certification.
BVI Airways will expand its fleet in the coming weeks, adding a second Jetstream 32 during the summer 2014 period. The carrier’s existing Jetstream 32 is currently in the United States undergoing a comprehensive retrofit programme in line with the sale. New turbine engines, an upgraded interior, and a fresh new livery will greet BVI Airways passengers once the aircraft returns to service on 7 April 2014.
“New aircraft will also mean new destinations,” added Willoughby. “We’ve got exciting plans to better connect the Eastern Caribbean in the coming months. BVI Airways is about to take off.”