Startup carrier Bermudair is nearly airborne, with tickets on sale now for its inaugural Business Class-only flights from the East Coast to Bermuda.
Starting August 31, the boutique carrier will operate six-times weekly flights from New York’s Westchester Airport (HPN) and Boston International (BOS) to the island’s L.F. Wade International Airport (BDA). From September 22, it will add a flight from Ford Lauderdale (FLL).
Bermudair will operate the flights with two leased 10-year-old Embraer E175 aircraft, previously flown by collapsed regional British carrier Flybe. The first of these planes arrived in Bermuda earlier this week for preparatory flights that local authorities will review as part of the carrier’s certification process.
Ultra-Premium, All-Aisle Class
The two jets will initially operate with the standard 2-2 configuration of 88 seats. However, Bermudair will only sell 44 tickets for each flight and allocate two adjoining window and aisle seats for each passenger.
This configuration is an approximation of the “highly customized and game-changing” seating concept, dubbed Aisle Class, that Bermudair plans to introduce on November 1.
Aisle Class will consist of 30 “seating suites,” arranged in a 1-1 layout and giving passengers both aisle access and a window view, as well as a generous workspace and outlets.
The plane won’t have overhead bins for an airier, more spacious feel. Instead, passengers will have enough room in their mini-suites for their luggage, the carrier says.
Bermudair will sell tickets in three bands—Light, Classic, and Flex—initially priced at $299, $339, and $409 each way. Each type of fare entitles customers to at least one checked bag, seat selection, WiFi, and complimentary food and beverages. Classic and Flex ticket-holders can check more bags and cancel their flights for full refunds.
Once the new seating concept debuts, ticket prices will rise steeply to $999, $1,099, and $1,319 each way.
Crowded Skies Ahead
Bermudair is the brainchild of CEO Adam Scott and CFO John Bavister. The pair are also behind Odyssey Airlines, a paper airline that’s been promising business-only transatlantic flights from London City Airport (LCY) for more than a decade but hasn’t yet gotten off the ground.
Bermudair is miles ahead of Odyssey Airlines, having leased planes, received clearance from aviation authorities, and put tickets on sale. However, it faces an uphill climb.
— Airliners.net (@airliners_net) August 22, 2023
The New York City area is already very well connected to Bermuda. JetBlue flies daily from JFK and LaGuardia, American Airlines offers a daily service from JFK, and United Airlines takes off every day from Newark. JetBlue also flies daily to Bermuda from Bermudair’s other inaugural destination, Boston.
Bermudair is pitching itself at wealthy vacationers and business travelers trying to reach the tax haven. But whether there’s enough unmet demand and whether the airline can cover its costs with just 30 seats per flight remains to be seen.
Bermudair, however, has a workaround for another challenge airlines face: the ongoing shortage of pilots. With just 30 seats per flight, Bermudair can operate under FAA’s Part 135 rules, employing pilots with fewer than 1,500 flight hours and over the age of 65.
This will help Bermudair recruit both young pilots and those who were forced to retire early by larger airlines during the pandemic.