New airline, HummingBird Air, is to begin commercial flights into Dominica this weekend in move that is said will bring relief to visitors to the island.
The airline is an initiative of local hotelier Sam Raphael and will be offering direct flights from the Canefield Airport to the US Virgin Islands. It will also provided services to St. Lucia.
Raphael told DNO that operations will begin into Canefield as the airline has received authorization to land on the island from the Dominica Airport and Sea Port Authority (DASPA).
He said he is now waiting for a license in writing from the authorities to actually seal the deal.
“We have a license for St. Lucia,” he stated. “That we have in writing. But we have applied and the director of the ports (Benoit Bardouille) gave me the go ahead to begin flights.”
Raphael is satisfied with the progress of the airline so far.
“We’ve had a number of delays because of the high levels of regulations required in the aviation industry,” he stated.
The airline will fly into Dominica from both St. Croix and Thomas on Fridays and Sundays and into St Lucia on Saturdays.
“We plan to expand our schedule in the coming weeks and months,” Raphael stated. “We will be expanding destinations, frequency of flights as we move forward.”
Applications for licence have already been filed in St. Kitts and St. Marteen.
The airline has three aircraft, all fifteen seaters. Only one is operational but the other two will be very soon.
They are capable of transporting both passengers and cargo.
“We will be moving things like produce and fish from Dominica for sale, so that should be a big boost to farmers and people who fish,” Raphael said.
He is confident that the HummingBird Air will boost airlift into Dominica.
“There is a new phenomenon in the Caribbean which sees persons, especially from Europe, that want to visit more than one island because of the contrast the islands offer,” he stated. “So we intend to offer packages for people between Martinique and Dominica and St Maarten and these islands to enable them to include Dominica in multi destination stays. This is a growing phenomenon and I think HummingBird Air is going to position Dominica as a leader in the area of multi destination travel.”
Raphael stated that so far the response from the traveling public has been “phenomenon.”
The airline is offering a special of US$350 round trip from Canefield to the USVI just for the month of July, Raphael said.