Cayman Islands-based start-up carrier, BlueSky Airlines, outlined its initial development plans to delegates at this year’s Routes Americas in San Salvador, El Salvador. The airline, which is planning to run scheduled flights connecting to the Caribbean and Latin America, presented a special Route Exchange briefing to an audience of airport and tourism authority delegates.
Speaking exclusively to The HUB following the presentation, Matt Ellinger, managing director of the new airline, outlined plans to bypass the US and introduce new services linking Grand Cayman to islands around the Caribbean, as well as central and South America.
“BlueSky is an airline that has been built out of the niche in the Caribbean and Latin America that is the need for connectivity,” explained Ellinger. Currently there is limited capacity for customers hopping from one island to another or for travel from one of the Caribbean islands to Latin America. On many city pairs the only option is to transit via another airport, quite often Miami.
“Our strategy is very simple. We want to open up new direct routes to enable connectivity without the need to make a change,” said Ellinger. “In addition we want to feed the areas major hubs like Panama, Bogota, Cancun, to make connections on to other parts of Latin America and Europe.”
BlueSky plans to launch operations in the middle of this year and has selected the Bombardier Aerospace Dash 8-Q400NetGen turboprop as its entry to market aircraft. “It’s a fantastic high-speed turboprop. It’s just perfect for these markets,” said Ellinger, noting the type’s excellent operating costs. “The speed on flights of around an hour or an hour and a half, which are the average, we will be maybe five minutes slower than a jet but at a quarter of the operating costs.”
It will initially take a conservative approach, according to Ellinger and launch with just two aircraft flying from the Cayman Islands. “Our main destinations are going to be the Dominican Republic, British Virgin Islands, Nassau, Turks & Caicos and Cancun to the west. Down to the south we will have Panama; San Andreas, Colombia; as well as Bogota and Cartagena,” he added.
Watch our EXCLUSIVE Routes Americas video interview with Matt Ellinger, managing director, BlueSky Airlines, below:
BlueSky Airlines Confirms Launch Plans for Summer 2014