Photo Courtesy of TNN

Air Canada, Delta Air Lines and British Airways will be the first commercial airlines to service the island when regularly scheduled flights resume next week at LF Wade International Airport.

But he said Delta’s flights from New York and Boston are currently on hold, while JetBlue “anticipates providing service from those two cities starting in August.

American Airlines will fly from New York.

While the resumption of commercial airline flights is good news for many, overall, the year 2020 will go down as the year of a 61.7 percent reduction in air capacity as a direct result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the latest COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, Minister of Tourism and Transport, Zane DeSilva said: “I know many Bermudians are keen to stretch their legs beyond our shores, just as many who have been stranded abroad are anxious to return.”

But in order to “keep our visitors and residents safe”, he said a new set of travellers’ guidelines has been developed with the Ministry of Health “to ensure our community is protected”.

The flight schedules are subject to change when flights resume next week.

At this point in time the flights are scheduled as follows:

  • From Thursday, July 2, Air Canada will fly weekly from Toronto
  • Starting Monday, July 6, Delta will fly daily from Atlanta, and
  • Beginning Friday, July 17, British Airways will fly twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays

“The other air service that we believe will start in August is WestJet, also from Toronto,” said Mr DeSilva.

“Flights from Philadelphia and Miami on American will not begin before December.

“What we refer to as ‘seasonal’ flights from Newark, Washington DC and Charlotte are cancelled for 2020,” he added.

Where does this leave us?

The percentage change in our air capacity, ie available seats, year over year is as follows:

  • When we restricted entry only to Bermuda residents in March, that led to a 45.6% reduction in air capacity
  • In April, May and June, we experienced a 100% reduction in air capacity as no commercial flights landed, and
  • For July through to December we anticipate a reduction in seats available of between 91.9% (in July) and 26% (in December)
In this Monday, April 27, 2020, American Airlines flight at Los Angeles International Airport – Vince Warburton via AP

On the downside, the Minister said Bermuda will experience a 61.7 percent reduction in air capacity in 2020, as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, when compared with 2019.

“What does that look like in numbers?”

The Minister said: “In 2019 our air capacity amounted to 579,720 seats and the 2020 projection was 543,325 seats. Now, we project a total for 2020 of 221,940 available seats. That is 357,780 fewer seats for travelers than last year.

“I must emphasise these schedules change regularly – weekly, even! So, we will continue to monitor seat availability as and when schedules adjust,” he added.

“Working with the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Bermuda Airport Authority and Skyport, the Ministry of Tourism and Transport will seek to increase air capacity and encourage visitation as it is prudent to do so. Our economy depends on it.

“As I stated at the beginning, the Bermuda Government has placed great emphasis on community safety and creating an island space where visitors will be able to relax.

“We must all do our part to ensure that, as we progress into Phase 4, we continue to embrace all the health measures that benefit us all: keep your distance and wear your mask!”