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#49027 - 05/07/02 03:32 PM New airline announces charters to Belize
Marty Offline
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
afternoon.


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.


David Honkala
"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
International flight."


Ann-Marie Williams
"Where are your office be located?"


David Honkala
"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."


Ann-Marie Williams
"You'll operate as a travel agency I take it?"


Tom Greenwood
"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
packages."


And with any new venture, especially the volatile
airline industry, the public is always interested in who
the shareholders are. However, Honkala was not
talking.


David Honkala
"The exact name of the shareholders, I'm not at
liberty to discuss at the point."


Ann-Marie Williams
"Why not?"


David Honkala
"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.

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#49028 - 05/08/02 05:26 AM Re: New airline announces charters to Belize
klcman Offline
I keep hearing & reading that Air Jamaica will be offering service to BZE shortly as well.
_________________________
_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman

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#49029 - 05/08/02 01:00 PM Re: New airline announces charters to Belize
mayatravel Offline
Just announced that US Air will fly twice weekly from Charlotte to Belize, starting around Nov 1
_________________________
Maya Travel Services

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#49030 - 05/08/02 01:44 PM Re: New airline announces charters to Belize
SunChaser Offline
Wonder what a flight out of Charlotte is going to cost??? I am only two hours from there! Looking for a cheap way to get back to San Pedro!

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#49031 - 05/08/02 06:24 PM Re: New airline announces charters to Belize
susangg Offline
Great news about US Air. Competition is always welcome.
As for the new airline ("Bel Air") -- the fact that this company does not want to identify its shareholders would make me very reluctant to buy a ticket.
Without public bona fides, I would be concerned about safety history. Have the principals operated an airline before? Did they have safety problems? Were they forced out of business? If there is any industry that needs to operate in the sunshine, it is the airline industry.
There is also the risk to consumers that the airline may go under before your trip (or worse, in the middle of it...) but that can be alleviated by using a credit card and purchasing travel insurance.
I would be more concerned about the safety track record. This new company may be 100% OK...but by refusing to divulge their bona fides, they give the appearance of having something to hide and that makes me nervous, since I don't know what that something is...
_________________________
Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email: susangg@garcia.mpowermail.com

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#49032 - 05/08/02 06:33 PM Re: New airline announces charters to Belize
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
I was also surprised to see on their original Web site that they claimed to be the "national flag carrier of Belize" which was totally without any basis. I would be very careful about this whole situation.

--Lan Sluder
_________________________
Lan Sluder/Belize First
http://www.belizefirst.com

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#49033 - 05/09/02 12:47 AM Re: New airline announces charters to Belize
klcman Offline
They still do refer to themselves that way.
_________________________
_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman

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#49034 - 05/09/02 01:02 PM Re: New airline announces charters to Belize
Grace Offline
Please tell us more about Charlotte to Belize as soon as possible! From Atlanta, that;s better than flying to Houston first. (We won't fly out of Miami...to crowded)
_________________________
Grace DeVita

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#49035 - 05/09/02 08:31 PM Re: New airline announces charters to Belize
Seaislegal Offline
Heck yeah, I live in Atlanta too and would drive to Charlotte to catch a flight!! Hopefully that will mean flights cheaper than the $500+ ones we can only find from here on American or Continental right now (connecting of course through somewhere.) Now if only Delta would jump on that bandwagon (as thats where my FF miles are...)

Andrea
_________________________
Andrea in Atlanta

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#49036 - 05/15/02 05:30 PM Re: New airline announces charters to Belize
SunChaser Offline
Well, I hope someone with some clout with that airline sees this post....several interested flyers here!!!!
We take the train all the time to Charlotte to the Panther's home games....train to Charlotte to the airport...hmmmm? That would work!

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