BVI Airways announced that it has closed on the sale of the airline to a New York-based merchant bank. Terms of the sale, including the identity of the new ownership group, were not disclosed. Effective with the sale, longtime aviation industry executive, Jerry Willoughby, has been named President and CEO. He joins BVI Airways co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Luke Smith, on the airline’s executive leadership team.
“We are extremely fortunate to source in one transaction the type of growth capital and executive-level aviation industry talent that can take BVI Airways to the forefront of Caribbean carriers in short order,” said Mr. Smith. “With our capital base and management infrastructure fortified, we now have the tools and resources to expand and reward the traveling public in the Eastern Caribbean with an elevated level of air service, professionalism, and reliability.”
Mr. Willoughby noted: “BVI Airways presents a unique opportunity to fund the expansion of a well run carrier with a superb safety and compliance record along with a reputation for excellent on-time performance and customer service. We look forward to building upon BVI Airways’ already solid foundation by working closely with the various communities we serve to tailor our routes and flight times in an effort to optimize passenger convenience, while also keeping costs in check.”
Mr. Willoughby brings more than 35 years of aviation industry experience to his new leadership position with BVI Airways. His career has bridged both the military and civil aviation sectors with extensive expertise in passenger and cargo operations. Willoughby began his career in the U.S. Air Force, serving a total of 30 years on active and reserve duty.
In addition to accumulating more than 7,500 hours in heavy lift/tanker aircraft, he held senior staff and command positions in airlift/tanker operations, directing, planning and executing worldwide operations. In 1998 he was selected to the rank of Brigadier General. The bulk of Mr. Willoughby’s civil aviation career was spent with Delta Air Lines, where he logged more than 17,500 hours as an international Check Captain, operating the L1011, B757, B767 and MD80 aircraft. He also served as Vice President of Flight Operations for Cargo 360 from 2005 until its sale in 2007.
BVI Airways, www.bviairways.com