Press Release

Ministry of Communications and Works
Civil Aviation
Release Date:
Friday, 17 November 2023 - 3:47pm

 Acting Premier Honourable Kye Rymer and Junior Minister for Culture and Tourism Honourable Luce Hodge-Smith and other officials welcomed the crew of Tradewind Aviation as they made their inaugural commercial flight to Virgin Gorda yesterday.

Honourable Rymer and Honourable Hodge-Smith welcomed the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Eric Zipkin and Caribbean General Manager Mr. Jose “Tony” Vallecillo at a ceremony attended by officials from the public and private sector.

Honourable Rymer in remarks spoke to the history and accomplishments of the airline that is based in Puerto Rico, and how they align with the values and product that Virgin Gorda has to offer.

The Acting Premier said, “Tradewind fits into Virgin Gorda, because Virgin Gorda is that VIP (Very Important Person) destination that we all talk about and it has the pristine beaches. Tradewind fits right into that, especially with the lounge that you have in San Juan and the class of plane that you have, and we welcome that.”

Honourable Rymer added, “Tradewind also has been ranked number three as the best airline in the USA for the past three years and that is something that you should be proud about, and we are proud about that, knowing that you would bring that level of service to our beautiful Virgin Islands. We congratulate you for such an honour knowing that you are a small aircraft, you are a small company but you are ranked among the best with the service that you provide.”

Managing Director of the BVI Tourist Board Mr. Clive McCoy stated that the event signalled the continuation of a new era of connectivity and growth for Virgin Gorda.

“With the arrival of Tradewind Aviation, we are not only opening up the skies above us, but we are also opening up countless opportunities for tourism and cultural exchange,” Mr. McCoy said.

The Managing Director thanked the management of Tradewind Aviation for their unwavering commitment to providing exceptional service and for choosing Virgin Gorda as one of their destinations. “Their vision and dedication has made it possible for us to gather here today and embark on this exciting journey together,” he added.

Meanwhile, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tradewind Aviation Mr. Eric Zipkin said it was an honour to be a part of the momentous occasion for his company and the Territory.

Mr. Zipkin said, “The most valuable and the most important reward is the trust that you all have placed in us. The people of the BVI and many of the people here sought us out when it came time to reopen the airport. We as an organisation are truly honoured to have been one of the first calls that came to come here, so I thank you for that trust and that welcome because ultimately it makes all of the difference.”

The full video of the Tradewind Aviation Ceremony can be viewed on the Government’s Facebook page at username @BVIGovernment.

The BVI Airports Authority continues to operate a safe, sustainable, efficient and economically viable system of airports within the Virgin Islands through their commitment to the development of infrastructure, services and regulatory compliance.


Photo 1: (Left to right): Chairman of the Board of Directors of the BVIAA Mr. Theodore Burke, Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Vincent Wheatley, Caribbean General Manager of Tradewind Aviation Mr. Jose “Tony” Vallecillo, Chairwoman of the BVI Tourist Board Mrs. Delma Maduro, Acting Premier Honourable Kye Rymer, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tradewind Aviation Mr. Eric Zipkin, Junior Minister for Culture and Tourism Honourable Luce Hodge-Smith, Managing Director of the BVI Tourist Board Mr. Clive McCoy.

Photo 2: Photo of Tradewind aircraft as it was taxing into the Taddy Bay International Airport

(Photo credit: GIS/R. Frazer)


Paul Bridgewater

Information Officer I (Ag.)
Department of Information and Public Relations