The first try was in 1977 with
Belize Airways Ltd., and while
that effort provided some of the
best in-flight service in the
world, the laws of economics
eventually prevailed. Since that
time a number of local
operators have tried and failed
to find a niche in the finicky market...and to be fair,
the list of airline casualties also includes some U.S.
heavyweights like Eastern, Pan American and Air
Florida. Undeterred, another group of erstwhile
investors arrived today at P.G.I.A., complete with a
lot of promises and far fewer answers to questions
from the press. Ann-Marie reports.
Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting
A new airline, which promises to provide weekly
charter service between Miami and Belize, touched
down at the Philip Goldson International Airport this
Although the plane belongs to Cayman Airways, the
men paying the bills call themselves Bel Air
International Airlines. CEO David Honkala says the
first charter flight is on June eighth.
David Honkala, CEO, Bel Air Int'l Airlines
"The flight is scheduled to leave here around 1 o'clock
in the afternoon, which will put us around a 5 o'clock
arrival into Miami. We tried to choose these schedules
to make it convenient for people to connect on to
other cities into the United Stated if they don't intend
to make Miami their final destination. There is still
adequate flights in connecting time available to reach
the west coast cities as well as the north east cities."
The 737-200 airplane with a seating capacity of one
hundred and ten, will operate between the United
States and Belize.
"Miami being s shorter distance to some of the U.S.
cities, that's a good hub for us to have people flying
from either from the north-east, or even from the west
coast and connect through Miami onto Bel Air
"Where are your office be located?"
"Currently our head office is...on the state side it's
located in San Diego and we will have representation
here in Belize as well."
However, listening to the President of the Belize
operations, Tom Greenwood, you'll never know,
especially since an office has not yet been set up.
Tom Greenwood, President, Belize Operations
"That is exactly what I'm hoping to set up within a
matter of a few days if not a week or two, permanent
offices in a good location in Belize City. This is really
nascent, but we're going to go for it, and I'm sure
that Belizeans will get more than a great opportunity
to purchase tickets at good prices and to fly to their
favourite places, which will of course be Cayman and
the United States and also include Cuba."
"You'll operate as a travel agency I take it?"
"Well what we're going to do is more than that. We're
going to tie in with other operations. For instance,
we'll tie in with the tour operations to provide tour
And with any new venture, especially the volatile
airline industry, the public is always interested in who
the shareholders are. However, Honkala was not
"The exact name of the shareholders, I'm not at
liberty to discuss at the point."
"The investment group that's funding the airline at
this point is based out of London and we will be
starting out services and it's very well funded from
this investment group. It's taken some extra time to
make sure that we put everything together and in
order, which we have now, and we're hoping this is
the first of a very long relationship of flight in and out
of the country of Belize."
Ann-Marie Williams for News 5.
Bel Air International Airlines will fly once per week,
on Saturdays, between Miami and Belize. Viewers
should note that the flights operate on a charter
basis and that Bel Air International has no
designation as a national flag carrier of Belize. In
related news, as we reported last month, the
United States carrier U.S. Air is expected to
inaugurate regular service between Belize and
Charlotte, North Carolina in the near future.