BTA: Airline Seat Capacity Increased 22% In Q1

April 26, 2016

The number of commercial airline seats available on routes to Bermuda increased 22 percent in the first quarter of 2016 when compared to the same period in 2015 and capacity jumped 19,085 seats during the three-month period, the Bermuda Tourism Authority said today.

The BTA said, “Declining airlift had a negative impact on visitor arrivals last year. Total arrivals declined 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015, a decrease partly attributed to a 21 percent reduction [23,530] in the number of airline seats available. Visitor arrival numbers for the first quarter of 2016 will be released next week.”

Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Bill Hanbury said: “A greater number of airline seats increases our chances to put vacationers in those seats.

“That’s why a year ago we worked so hard with our partners in the public and private sector to advance this issue. We consider a 22 percent increase in seats, during the shoulder season, to be a very positive development.

“These additional seats also serve the local community in a positive way because when supply increases, cost typically decreases. This is good news for Bermuda residents and businesses since the cost of air travel becomes more affordable for all of us, not just for our visitors.”

“It is encouraging to see this uplift in capacity,” said Ross Webber, CEO of Bermuda Business Development Agency [BDA]. “We are happy to work alongside the BTA to ensure routes are available, convenient and, ultimately, better priced.”

The BTA said they “worked closely with the Department of Airport Operations and the private sector by taking a series of steps in 2015 to encourage increased seat capacity:

  • Convened a think tank of a cross-section of local leaders 05/06/15
  • Held airlift planning session with core stakeholders: Department of Airport Operations, Bermuda Hotel Association, Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, Association of Bermuda International Companies, Chamber of Commerce, BDA, etc. 05/22/15
  • Conducted survey of 300-plus stakeholders across local economy 06/10/15
  • Met alongside government officials with United Airlines to discuss Newark winter service 07/08/15
  • Met with Delta about winter air service marketing initiatives 08/03/15
  • Reconvened core stakeholder group to share progress 08/26/15
  • Assisted Minister and airport officials at World Routes Conference to meet with existing and potential new carriers 09/19/15
  • Met with American Airlines to discuss marketing initiatives 10/07/15
  • Met alongside government officials with JetBlue 10/09/15
  • Met with British Airways officials 10/23/15

Mr Webber added: “The BDA has worked tenaciously throughout the year encouraging more people to fly to Bermuda.

“We have been instrumental in attracting and sponsoring on-island events that draw business travellers to the Island from all parts of the world. Hosting conferences like the Legal Week Client Forum Americas, which drew senior executives to Bermuda in February, helps keep routes open.

“The additional American Airlines flight into JFK has made travel to the Big Apple and onwards on connecting flights far more conducive for business travel.”

The BTA added, “Two airline routes in the first quarter of this year were the main drivers of higher airlift: a second American Airlines flight from JFK began February 11, 2016, serving Bermuda six days per week initially and then increasing to daily; and government officials reinstated winter service with United Airlines from Newark, serving the Island three days per week during the first quarter.

“Since the end of the first quarter, American Airlines resumed daily direct service from Philadelphia International Airport starting April 5, 2016. In addition, from the first week of June until mid-August the airline will offer flights daily from Ronald Regan Washington National Airport and once per week from Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

“United Airlines will increase its current three days per week service out of New York/Newark Liberty International Airport to daily flights on May 5.

“As of May 19, JetBlue Airlines will resume nonstop service from Boston Logan International Airport and will increase its current five days per week service from JFK International Airport to daily direct service on May 4.

“Notably, there are now direct flight options to Bermuda from John F. Kennedy International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport via Delta Airlines; JFK International Airport and Miami International Airport on American Airlines; as well as the Toronto Pearson International Airport from WestJet and Air Canada. Direct service from London Gatwick on British Airways is also available.”

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Comments (27)

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  1. Raymond Ray says:

    Excellent news indeed!

    • Raymond Ray says:

      By the way, in reference to Mr. Dale Butlers interview on Z.B.M TV last evening,(Tuesday)it had been well presented and should be viewed with”open eyes”by the vast majority of Bermudians and yes, politician as well. What he’d said is 100% true.

      Thanks Mr. Dale Bulter

    • Spilt milk says:

      Is that 22% up from the numbers that wer down the year before?

  2. reddamtibi says:

    Is the additional American flight made to JFK not a result of a direct government subsidy as reported months ago versus a real demand increase by visitors?

    • Onion says:

      For what it’s worth I was on one of the AA JFK flights last week and it was full of tourists.

    • perspective says:

      The additional American Airlines is not subsidized

      • Tourism Advocate says:

        Confirmed. American’s second flight not subsidised.

  3. reddamtibi says:

    Not being at all negative just want to see the difference between the true seat capacity required and the manufactured one.

  4. archy says:

    “Visitor arrival numbers for the first quarter of 2016 will be released next week.”
    It will be interesting to see if the visitor arrival numbers mirror the increased capacity. I hope so.

    • Lois Frederick says:

      Jan and Feb both had very encouraging increases, it’s on their website under research. I see no reason why March would be any different.

      • Eve says:

        What website are you reading???? Air Vacation & Leisure Visitor Arrivals in January was neg. 552 and February was pos. 524 that is a decrease of 28 over 2015. That is a long long way from filling 19,000 seats. There better be a big increase for March or the hotels that participated in the 50% off sale will not be happy with the BTA.

        • serengeti says:

          March was the month when you lot took a week off to show how racist you are. I don’t know if that will have done much to help the March tourism numbers.

    • Make a new plan Stan says:

      I work in the industry and noticed that it wasn’t as quiet as it normally is. There has been a pretty steady stream of people from all over the world over the last few months.I’ve noticed alot of young Asian visitors that may be in college in North American, a few people from Germany and Sweden and of course the U.S. as far as Texas and even further Arizona.

      Here’s something to consider: I met a man from Mumbai, last month, who stopped here on his way to New York. This is not the first time something like this has happened…..I also met a couple a few years ago from Italy who stopped here on the way to New York…..that might be another angle to use to sell our product.

  5. wahoo says:


  6. wondering says:

    What is the use of a press release regarding useless information. The public wants to know REAL numbers:

    How many visitors arrived

    How much did they spend

    How much does Bermuda have to subsidize to offset the empty seats (eg 40 passengers on a 150 capacity flight).

    !! Having 20 000 seats is useless unless you capitalize on the supply of what appears to be an unnecessarily inflated projected demand!!

    Stats like those reported p1$$ people off to the “enth” degree when the bottom line is of what benefit to our economy was the effort?

    Public relations is an art and you have to know how to tell the public the truth and make less commotion over nothing and give credit where it’s due when appropriate.

    • Lois Frederick says:

      Check their website. Jan and Feb are both there. You might be surprised at what you see.

      • wondering says:

        The numbers don’t reflect the amount of $ paid in subsidies year over year AND the 5 or 10 year trend.

        • serengeti says:

          An idiot can ask more questions than a genius can answer, as you have proved.

          • wondering says:

            Everybody is a genius but if you judge a chicken by how far it can fly it will always think it is stupid.

  7. watching says:

    Capacity is one thing, but the real information is how many visitors came? I am hoping that the numbers are up significantly in like with the capacity increase.

  8. Coffee says:

    Didn’t Jamaica just get 60,000.00 more seats . Stop the nonsense BTA /Hanbury / Jones /Lacy … Stop it !
    Where is the Tourism Minister when you need him ? OBA , playing silly games with low numbers , for a new airport with no numbers !

    • smh says:

      Coffee, don’t you just hate it when Bermuda gets good news?

  9. Scotty says:

    Drinking too much coffee, that is a rather unusual number. Are you suggesting sixty thousand dollars?
    Have to agree with you, it’s all nonsense. Playing around with the numbers, you can make them suggest anything you wish.
    However, a new airport is required, the current airport is not a positive gateway to this island. It’s the PPP that needs to go, given there is only ever one winner and that is the private not the public in the partnership.

  10. Kathy says: