Bermudair: New Bermuda-Based All-Business Class Airline Launches Flights

Bermudair: New Bermuda-Based All-Business Class Airline Launches Flights

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Several months ago, I wrote about an unusual airline startup that plans to launch flights between the United States and Bermuda. There’s now a major update — the airline has put tickets on sale, and plans to launch flights next week.

The basics of airline startup Bermudair

Bermudair is a new all-business class airline that will shortly launch flights between the United States and Bermuda. The airline has received its air operator certificate (AOC) from the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA), and has also received a foreign air carrier permit from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). Let’s go over the basics of the airline.

Bermudair fleet

Bermudair’s fleet will initially consist of two leased Embraer E175 aircraft, which have been acquired from leasing company Azorra. The planes have the registration codes VQ-BLU and BQ-BLW, and these are both roughly 10-year-old aircraft that used to operate for Flybe (which has gone out of business… twice).

Bermudair will fly leased Embraer E175 aircraft

Bermudair cabin configuration

Bermudair will be an all business class airline, though don’t expect the carrier to immediately offer its planned product.

As of November 1, 2023, Bermudair aircraft will be configured with just 30 seats, spread across 15 rows in a 1-1 configuration. I was really curious to see what the cabins on these planes would be like, and I’m ridiculously impressed. I wasn’t expecting the airline would actually have a unique, highly customized product, but it appears that the airline does.

Interestingly the planes won’t have overhead bins, but the airline promises there will be space for carry-on bags in the seats.

The airline plans to offer an all-inclusive business class experience, with free Wi-Fi, and complimentary food and drinks. The airline will even have a signature cocktail, the Dark ‘n Stormy.

Bermudair business class cabin layout

Now, there is one catch. Bermudair claims the new experience will only be available as of November 1. Prior to that, the planes have the inherited 2-2 configuration, with 88 seats. The airline will be blocking every other seat, so that each passenger gets an aisle and window seat.

Personally I’d be a little skeptical of the timeline of November 1 sticking, since that’s a very exact date when there are apparently supply chain delays, and I imagine installing a new configuration for the first time can also take longer than planned.

Bermudair destinations & schedule

Bermudair plans to initially fly from Bermuda (BDA) to three destinations:

  • Boston (BOS) — 6x weekly as of August 31, 2023
  • White Plains (HPN) — 6x weekly as of August 31, 2023
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL) — 6x weekly as of September 22, 2023

Those are quite some frequencies for an airline startup!

Bermudair routemap
Bermudair destinations & frequencies

Bermudair fares

What are fares like on BermudAir? When the airline first launches (without its new configuration), fares seem to start at $299 one-way.

Bermudair fares

Meanwhile as of November 2023, when the airline is promising its new configuration, fares start at $999 one-way.

Bermudair fares

As you can see, there are different fare bands, ranging from “Light” to “Flex.” Fortunately they all include carry-on bags and at least one checked bag, plus free seat selection. The difference is primarily how many checked bags you are entitled to, and also what the fees are for changes.

I’d say these fares seem reasonable, and roughly in line with what you’d expect for a product like this.

Bermudair management

For those wondering who is behind this airline, the CEO is Adam Scott, while the CFO is John Bavister. They’re both also behind Odyssey Airlines, which was an airline startup that intended to operate all-business class transatlantic flights from London City Airport (LCY) using Airbus A220s. That concept was initially unveiled over a decade ago, but the airline still hasn’t launched.

My take on the Bermudair business concept

I love writing about airline startups, regardless of how real they might be. To Bermudair’s credit, the airline is clearly serious about launching operations, and should be flying by next week.

So this is a “real” airline startup, and not some teenager pulling a prank, with no intent of actually starting an airline. That being said, this is a very strange business model, and I think the company faces an uphill battle:

  • I suspect the reason for the 30 business class seats is so that the airline can be a Part 135 operator (similar to JSX), which means that pilots can be hired with fewer hours, and there are also fewer regulatory hurdles; I am curious how the airline can operate its 44-seat configuration at launch, given that it’s not a Part 121 operator?
  • I’m really impressed (and surprised) that the airline is introducing a custom product, which actually looks incredibly comfortable; I am skeptical about the timeline, though, and the fact that the airline is already promising this product as of a specific date
  • While I understand Bermuda has a fair bit of business demand (insurance, asset management, etc.), it seems to me like that alone wouldn’t justify launching routes like this; these aren’t markets with New York to London levels of demand
  • I just don’t get the economics of this concept; how are you going to fill 30-60 business class seats per day at high fares year-round between the United States and Bermuda?
  • While a private jet-like experience sounds great to business travelers, there are also some downsides; many businesses have corporate contracts with other airlines, Bermudair might not have lounges, Bermudair can’t be as reliable as a larger airline when an aircraft has a maintenance issue, etc.

I appreciate that this airline is doing something innovative, though I’m scratching my head as to what traffic data the founders are looking at to justify these routes, especially with exclusively premium capacity.

I assume the airline can have an attractive cost structure, between reasonably priced aircraft, plus managing labor costs by being based in Bermuda. But still, if you’re going to start an all-business class airline, it seems like Bermuda to the United States isn’t necessarily the first market you’d consider.

I’m also a bit surprised by how the airline is going “all-in” so quickly, immediately launching nearly daily service in all markets. I hope the airline is well funded.

Bottom line

Bermudair is an airline startup that intends to operate all-business class flights between Bermuda and the United States using former Flybe Embraer E175s. Not only that, but the company intends to configure these planes in an all-business class layout, with just 30 seats, in a 1-1 configuration.

Bermudair has now put tickets on sale, and will launch flights as of August 31. The airline plans to offer its true business class layout as of November, at which point fares will start at $999 one-way.

I can’t wait to give this airline a try, though I’ll wait to book until a plane with the new configuration is actually flying.

What do you make of the Bermudair concept?

Conversations (17)
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  1. Jeannie Guest

    I've traveled a lot globally. While this Airline is not flying out of the normal hubs (Orlando) I will travel from Fort (FLL) smaller airports, less congestion, and no terrible passengers. My last trip to BDA via AA was 1st/Business class combo. It cost more. I was not impressed. Will fly home to Bermuda to visit via BermudaAir

  2. FlyerDon Guest

    If you were a qualified pilot looking for a job, knowing that almost every airline in the world is hiring pilots, why would you accept a position with this airline?

  3. Samuel Guest

    The seats don’t appear to recline & there are no leg rests
    Is it just a slightly wider economy seat with more space/privacy around it?

  4. Veronica Guest

    I actually just booked this, so happy to be a guest writer for you :)

  5. Banana Republic Resident Guest

    I wish them good luck.

  6. Jayk Guest

    This situation may have been created by the major three airlines themselves. Delta and AA have reduced their scheduled service to the island and capacity. AA has temporarily removed service to MIA until November. They are now flying PHL, JFK and CLT with A319 with 8 first class seats. The upgrade list is regularly 25-30 people, with 1st class sold out at least a month in advance. Delta has cut out BOS temporarily, where quite...

    This situation may have been created by the major three airlines themselves. Delta and AA have reduced their scheduled service to the island and capacity. AA has temporarily removed service to MIA until November. They are now flying PHL, JFK and CLT with A319 with 8 first class seats. The upgrade list is regularly 25-30 people, with 1st class sold out at least a month in advance. Delta has cut out BOS temporarily, where quite a few of the local population go for health care. Often paid for by their insurance companies. Also given the huge insurance and reinsurance market this can produce the perfect storm for this startup airline to survive. It may also thrive given the volume of private jet flights with corporate executives utilizing NetJets etc. Probably at least 12-15 flights per day. Calculating the cost to fly a private jet to BDA with the landing fees, possibly flying the return empty, or overnight stay for the crew, BermudaAir looks like a pretty good alternative. I have heard of a private jet costing roughly 15K one way from the USA give or take. The 30 seat configuration sounds like a good alternative for the corporate world and high wealth individuals to transition to their summer homes here for 2K round trip. Price a 1st class ticket round trip from ATL to BDA, JFK to BDA, Or CLT to BDA two weeks in advance. If you find availability it will probably be close to what BermudaAir is charging and not as convenient. IMHO

    FYI, there is a St. Regis here Ben. Perfect time to evaluate a new startup and check out the fairly new St. Regis!!! DM me if you are coming! ;-)

  7. Jordan Diamond

    The global levels of hidden power, reside or go in and out of BDA.

    BA operates a 4 class 777 to BDA from London for a reason, and on the other days, people have to go via CLT and JFK (preferred).

    Think of Bermuda as an extension of the City of London in paradise. A gateway to other things. With what's coming, the timing is right....lol.

    With what's coming, the timing is right....LOL!

    1. Ladyship Guest

      You may have hit the nail on the head there. I just came back from Bermuda yesterday and learned that both Bloomberg (net worth of $96 bil) and the Motts family own homes there, The line of thinking for its conception is likely way above our pay grade lol

  8. snic Diamond

    $300 OW, OK.

    $1000? LOLiLOLiLOL

    I know there are a lotta rich people in those metro areas, but $1k for a 2 hour flight? Yeah, good luck.

  9. DT Guest

    Is this ultimately something that could operate out of LCY via BDA to the east coast?

  10. pstm91 Diamond

    There is absolutely demand for this between the heavy business travel and a very large student population in New England (from very affluent families). With that said, that is a lot of frequencies and I agree that there is no way the winter demand will be that high. I hope it works out; it could fill a great nice/hole and the pricing is not unreasonable for the product. Time will tell.

  11. mjonis Guest

    Wow, at first I thought $1,000 each way ($2,000 roundtrip) was expensive. Then I searched (BOS-Bermuda only) and realized that there are no non-stop (at least via Google), and the 1 stop cheapest (Jan 6-13, 2024) was almost $3,600. So I guess it's not that bad of a deal then. Although a bit much for me, LOL

  12. SMR Guest

    I see no market for this airline but I wish them luck. b6/NK should do FLL-BDA.. will knock them right out.

  13. Mark Guest

    Is that a 14 minute turn time in HPN?

  14. Chris Guest

    Hi Ben - I mentioned this before but it was probably lost in the comments - FYI your site is returning a http header with a cache period of 6 months which means that visitors to the page from a link/bookmark won't see a refresh unless they force refresh. I had been coming to the site every morning via bookmark and it was unchanged for like 6 days until i realized it and then i did a refresh and the posts come up. But on the next visit it will still be cached again.

    1. DCAWABN Guest

      Seconding this. Had to go into Firefox settings and force it to not cache anything at all. Which is kind of a pain.

  15. Jim Guest

    Would a foreign carrier necessarily care about 121 vs 135? After all, non-US-flagged airlines routinely have crew that don't meet the US' 121 requirements. Or does Bermuda happen to have a comparable regulation (which isn't totally illogical)?

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mjonis Guest

Wow, at first I thought $1,000 each way ($2,000 roundtrip) was expensive. Then I searched (BOS-Bermuda only) and realized that there are no non-stop (at least via Google), and the 1 stop cheapest (Jan 6-13, 2024) was almost $3,600. So I guess it's not that bad of a deal then. Although a bit much for me, LOL

3
Jayk Guest

This situation may have been created by the major three airlines themselves. Delta and AA have reduced their scheduled service to the island and capacity. AA has temporarily removed service to MIA until November. They are now flying PHL, JFK and CLT with A319 with 8 first class seats. The upgrade list is regularly 25-30 people, with 1st class sold out at least a month in advance. Delta has cut out BOS temporarily, where quite a few of the local population go for health care. Often paid for by their insurance companies. Also given the huge insurance and reinsurance market this can produce the perfect storm for this startup airline to survive. It may also thrive given the volume of private jet flights with corporate executives utilizing NetJets etc. Probably at least 12-15 flights per day. Calculating the cost to fly a private jet to BDA with the landing fees, possibly flying the return empty, or overnight stay for the crew, BermudaAir looks like a pretty good alternative. I have heard of a private jet costing roughly 15K one way from the USA give or take. The 30 seat configuration sounds like a good alternative for the corporate world and high wealth individuals to transition to their summer homes here for 2K round trip. Price a 1st class ticket round trip from ATL to BDA, JFK to BDA, Or CLT to BDA two weeks in advance. If you find availability it will probably be close to what BermudaAir is charging and not as convenient. IMHO FYI, there is a St. Regis here Ben. Perfect time to evaluate a new startup and check out the fairly new St. Regis!!! DM me if you are coming! ;-)

1
Jim Guest

Would a foreign carrier necessarily care about 121 vs 135? After all, non-US-flagged airlines routinely have crew that don't meet the US' 121 requirements. Or does Bermuda happen to have a comparable regulation (which isn't totally illogical)?

1
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