All About Fares, Taxes, and Fees
Probably the most frequently asked question we encounter is "Why does my ticket cost so much?" This is, in fact, a valid question - A question we feel deserves a complete and thorough explanation.
Let's start from the beginning. We understand your expectation that your flight will be safe, reliable and pleasant. Operating an airline reliably and safely is a complicated endeavor that requires far more than simply selling tickets and flying an airplane from one place to another. Before an airline can conduct any scheduled operations it must first obtain what is known as an "Air Operator's Certificate" from the governing authority of the country from which it intends to operate. In our case, this is the British Virgin Islands. The certification process requires that we demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Government that we can comply with every law and regulation that applies to our operation. To accomplish this task we first assembled a management team that meets very strict requirements. A managing director for an airline must have significant experience across a broad spectrum in the field of aviation. This experience is typically obtained over many years working in the airline industry at various positions.
Once the top management team was assembled, an entire library of manuals was developed and written that addresses the conduct of every aspect of the BVIAirways' operation. These manuals were written in a very precise format, leaving no doubt in anyone's mind how the airline must be run. The manuals were thoroughly reviewed and approved by the government's team of airline operations experts. Once approved, manuals were distributed to each pilot, mechanic, and ground support employee and are maintained and updated as necessary to accomodate changes and improvements in safety and procedures.
All our pilots and mechanics are also trained to the highest possible standards. It is not nearly enough that they simply already have their licenses when they apply to work for us. We provide specific training on our particular make and model of aircraft, the British Aerospace Jetstream 32. Pilots and mechanics attend our indoctrination courses on company procedures and policies. Pilots receive flight training in a full-motion simulator that is an exact working replica of the Jetstream 32 cockpit. Although expensive, there is no substitute for training in a full motion simulator. High technology simulation allows us to achieve extraordinary levels of pilot proficiency - In our opinion, money very well spent. Training is not just a one-time event either; Every Captain and First Officer receives recurrent training and must pass a thorough flight evaluation once every six months. Pilots must regularly pass a thorough physical examination as well.
Then, of course, there are the costs of obtaining, operating and maintaining, and insuring an airplane. A well-equipped Jetstream 32 costs more than a million dollars. Our Operating Certificate requires that the airplane is inspected and maintained on a daily basis. Parts are replaced or overhauled before they ever have the chance to wear out - Again, not an inexpensive policy, but one well worth the cost. Fuel is also a big factor in the operation of an airplane. The Jetstream 32 consumes 378 liters of jet fuel per hour - as you can imagine, world oil prices keep us on our toes! Then there are all the people on our payroll that you may not see but without whom your luggage wouldn't be handled, tickets wouldn't get printed, phone calls wouldn't be answered and reservations wouldn't get processed.
Lastly, another common concern is that passenger taxes and fees are sometimes almost as costly as the airfare. Please bear this in mind: The airline does not charge passenger taxes and fees. We are required to collect taxes and facilities charges for each passenger. We then deliver those taxes and fees to the appropriate governments or agencies on your behalf. In addition, every flight we fly is an international operation, at times passing through the airspace of several countries - We have to pay for that. We pay landing fees at every airport to which we fly. We also pay for the use of the Air Traffic control system which does a wonderful job of keeping your flight safely separated from all the others.
We do understand your expectations. It is our hope that providing this look behind the scenes will expand your understanding of how hard we work to meet those expectations and what it costs to achieve them.