New Caribbean start-up carrier Dominican Wings is to inaugurate operations this summer using a single Airbus A320 transferred from its sister carrier, European ACMI operator Avion Express. The aircraft was unveiled in late March after being painted in the airline’s livery at Budapest Airport in Hungary and made its delivery flight to Santo Domingo’s Las Americas International Airport in the Dominican Republic this week.
The venture has been formed by Lithuanian operator Avion Express to support growing demand for ad hoc and charter aircraft capacity across the Americas, a market where the current supply is limited. The venture was awarded a licence last autumn and expects to receive its Air Operator’s Certificate from Junta de Aviación Civil de la República Dominicana, the Dominican Republic's civil aviation authority, in the coming weeks.
Information about the new airline was exclusively first released by Routesonline in February last year after we spoke to Avion Express shareholder and board member, Gardar Forberg revealed to The HUB on the sidelines of that year’s Routes Americas forum in San Salvador, El Salvador. After ten years of successful operation in Europe, he outlined that it was the right time to look at new opportunities with the business.
“We are always looking for new frontiers to explore and have decided we want to try to replicate the development of Avion Express in the Americas market,” explained Forberg. “We have now effectively mounted a new AOC in the Dominican Republic, under the name Dominican Wings,” he confirmed at the time.
The initial plan for Dominican Wings is for a single A320 to be transferred across from the Avion Express operation this summer with additional aircraft possibly following during the 2015/2016 winter schedule. “What is great about the Americas for us is the great market potential, but it also afford us the capability of moving assets quite rapidly between the two AOCs to take advantage of the counter cyclical markets,” explained Forberg.
It was revealed last autumn that Dominican Wings had agreed a contract to introduce a weekly charter link between Santo Domingo and Buenos Aires, via Manaus, Brazil, to support demand from Argentine tour operators, although no formal launch date of services was announced. The airline is also expected to look to feed international leisure travellers into Santo Domingo from markets such as Colombia and Peru.
“The business strategy of Dominican Wings is to position itself as an important supplier of charter capacity for a diverse customer portfolio ranging from tour operators, hotels and start-up companies in the Americas and the Caribbean region. Moreover, Dominican Wings will also be supplying supplemental seasonal capacity to other established airlines in the region,” Forberg told Routesonline this week.
Dominican Wings’ first aircraft, the first A320 to be registered in the Dominican Republic (registration: HI698), arrived at Las Americas International Airport on May 4, 2015 after flying from Budapest, Hungary via Keflavik, Iceland and Montreal Canada as part of the proving flight process overseen by the Dominican Civil Aviation Authority, IDAC.
“The Dominican Republic is geographically ideally located for charter operations throughout the Latin, North American and the Caribbean region. Furthermore, the Dominican Republic has the largest amount of inbound tourists in the Caribbean and has a highly developed infrastructure serving the industry. At present the Dominican Republic receives more than five million visitors a year but a Presidential initiative is in place to effectively double this number during the next few years,” added Forberg.