Tourism in the British Virgin Islands will get a considerable boost next summer as American Airlines launches the first-ever non-stop flight from Miami.
Starting June 1, the airline will run daily direct flights between Miami (MIA) and Beef Island (EIS) in the British Virgin Islands. The flights will run through the summer, then resume in November 2023 for the holiday season.
The flights will be operated with an Embraer E175 aircraft, which typically seats up to 88 passengers and can be accommodated by Beef Island’s current airport infrastructure.
The flight will make the British Virgin Islands much more accessible for Americans. Previously, vacationers had to take connecting short-hop flights through San Juan, Puerto Rico, catch a ferry from St. Thomas, or visit as a stop on a cruise.
“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,” said Juan Carlos Liscano, American Airlines Vice President in Miami.
“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.”
The flights will depart Miami at 10:25 AM on Thursday and land at 1:30 PM local time, with a flight time of just over two hours. On the way back, the flight will depart the island at 2:30 PM and arrive in Miami at 5:30 PM.
Kye Rymer, the British Virgin Islands’ Minister of Communications and Works, said, “We are very happy to welcome back American Airlines to the British Virgin Islands. This venture to have direct 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,” he added.
Rymer revealed that multiple airlines had expressed interest in serving the British Virgin Airlines and that American Airlines was one of eight North American carriers a delegation from the carrier met in October. However, flight options are still limited by the runway’s current 4,642 ft length — too short for most planes. Rymer said the runway needs lengthening.
In the meantime, the American Airlines flight will provide vital connectivity to tourists and locals. It’s also part of the carrier’s growing presence in the Caribbean, a position it’s been consolidating since post-pandemic tourism resumed in 2021.
Last December, American Airlines launched the first-ever direct U.S. flights to two other hard-to-reach Caribbean destinations: Dominica (DOM) and Anguilla (AXA). These flights also depart from Miami.
American Airlines also added flights to Samaná (ASZ) in the Dominican Republic. In addition, it’s flying more regularly to Cuba, with increased frequency to Havana (HAV) and resumed service to secondary airports at Camagüey, Cuba (CMW), Santa Clara (SNU), Santiago (SCU), and Varadero (VRA).
And these flights aren’t just departing from Florida. Last summer, American Airlines launched a weekly flight between Austin (AUS) and Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ).