US legacy carrier American Airlines is already gearing up for next summer with the announcement of a new route from Miami International Airport. The airline said Monday that it plans to launch flights connecting travelers to the British Virgin Islands.
The service will be the first-ever nonstop flight to the British Virgin Islands from the US. American's announcement also comes as good news for the British overseas territory that has reportedly been seeking to attract service from a North American airline.
Expanding its Caribbean presence
American, the world's largest airline, said flights between Miami International Airport and Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport will begin on June 1, 2023. The carrier's regional affiliate Envoy Air branded as American Eagle, will operate the route daily, utilizing Embraer E175 aircraft.
The service will be seasonal, running during the summer and pausing briefly after peak demand. The airline said it will pick back up the service for winter demand, with flights set to restart in November of next year.
In a statement to the Caribbean Journal, American Airlines' Vice President for Miami, Juan Carlos Liscano, said the carrier is looking forward to expanding its network for Miami travelers.
“We are proud to operate as the leading airline in South Florida, offering our customers an unrivaled network in the Caribbean and Latin America with service from the Miami hub to more than 70 destinations in the region. This year demand has remained strong for Miami travel, and we’re looking forward to further growth in 2023 with a new and unique destination in the Caribbean that our customers love – the British Virgin Islands.” - Juan Carlos Liscano, American Airlines’ Vice President for Miami
Expecting popular demand
When American begins flying the route, officials expect it will be very favored as the British Virgin Islands lacks commercial air service outside the Caribbean. Travelers will have the ability to connect to numerous destinations through the airline's Miami hub. American is also part of the oneworld Alliance, making its network even larger for travelers.
Kyle Rymer, British Virgin Islands' Vice Premier and Minister for Communications, spoke about the significance of the new service in a statement to Routes 360.
“This venture to have [nonstop] flights between Miami and the British Virgin Islands will make it significantly easier, faster and more affordable for persons from around the world to come to the British Virgin Islands, which is one of the must-visit tourist destinations in the world. Our residents will also benefit from convenient connections for business and leisure travel to dozens of destinations across American’s route network.”
Big interest from airlines
Several airlines have reportedly considered the British overseas territory over the past few months. Rymer said American was one of eight North American carriers that met with a delegation from the territory in October at the Routes World 2022 conference in Las Vegas.
Although airlines have been interested in serving Lettsome International Airport, flight options are limited due to the airport and runway being situated on an island. At a length of 4,642 feet (1,415 m), regional aircraft such as the Embraer E175 will have no problem taking off and landing, but any larger aircraft full of passengers would be a hazardous attempt, meaning airlines without smaller planes are left without options.
American has spent the past year focusing on adding Caribbean destinations to its network. The Dallas-Fort Worth-based airline started flights from Miami to the islands of Anguilla and Dominica and began service to Samaná in the Dominican Republic.