The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has granted BVI Airways (BVI, Beef Island) exemption authority while deferring a decision on its application for a Foreign Air Carrier Permit (FACP).

In its Notice of Action Taken issued on Friday, April 29, the DOT said objections set forth by VI Airlink (V6, Beef Island) and interCaribbean Airways (JY, Providenciales) were insufficient to warrant the withholding of authorization.

It is recalled that VI Airlink and interCaribbean Airways had argued that they were never served a copy of its application in violation of DOT requirements. Further to that, they also questioned the citizenship of BVI Airways' shareholders as well as the British Virgin Islands' government's impartiality given an alleged investment made to stimulate demand for flights between the BVI and the United States.

However, the DOT dismissed all three objections. In the first instance, it said BVI Airways served its application in accordance with the appropriate Department procedural rules and thus found no merit in the assertions of the objecting carriers regarding improper service. In the second instance, the DOT said BVI Airways' application presented sufficient clarity apropos its shareholders' origins for the application to proceed. Finally, the DOT said that, with regard to the competition issue, it saw no persuasive basis to withhold authority for the introduction of these new services especially given "the strong support for approval of the application submitted by the British Virgin Islands Government."

BVI Airways has said that with the DOT green light in hand, it plans to start a 4x weekly service from Beef Island to each of Miami Int'l and San Juan Luis Muñoz Marin increasing to daily as market requirements dictate. Service will be onboard one of its two ARJ-100s.