HAMILTON, Bermuda – Former Transport Minister Lawrence Scott has announced the launch of a new charter service that will initially link Bermuda with the Dominican Republic.
Scott, a trained pilot, said eventually Bermuda could become an air hub between the Caribbean and Africa.
His comments came as he launched the new charter service he is involved with, called TXKF Direct.
The names of others in the venture were not disclosed, but Scott said he might take command of some of the flights himself.
“I am a pilot. I have my pilot’s license,” he said.
The backbencher, dumped as Transport Minister by Premier David Burt last October in a cabinet shake-up following his victory in a Progressive Labour Party (PLP) leadership battle with ex-Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson, said the new service would begin with flights between Bermuda and the Dominican Republic in August to coincide with the Cup Match holiday here.
Scott, replaced by Wayne Furbert as Transport Minister in the reshuffle, said another charter flight to Jamaica would follow later in the year, with a long-haul service planned for 2024.
He said he would like to see the routes expand to other Caribbean islands, and then Ghana and South Africa.
Scott, son of former PLP premier Alex Scott, whose wife Olga is Jamaican, said a route from the Caribbean to Africa via Bermuda would have far fewer visa issues than transfers going through US airports.
The new service comes after American Airlines announced it has suspended direct flights from Bermuda to Miami this summer.
Scott told the Royal Gazette newspaper: “We are doing this to help the island connect. To open up trade routes.
“We picked up on the Dominican Republic because it is a breadbasket nation, they generate not just enough food to feed themselves, but also to export the excess.
“This is just the first of multiple ventures. Later, we are thinking of going to Ghana. It is part of a much bigger strategy to connect the Caribbean and Africa. The Caribbean is trying to connect itself with, and to, Africa. But there is, right now, no tangible connection that is convenient for the Caribbean to depend on.
“So, Bermuda could become the hub for that. We would firstly create the link to Bermuda. Then we would create connectivity between Bermuda and West Africa, because people from the Caribbean don’t need a visa to come here. Our business model is organic growth, so we start small and go from there.”