It is a fact, over last 25 years St. Barth Commuter became a force in the development of the economy of the island. Since the beginning of the operations in 1995, St Barth Commuter transported more than 500,000 passengers. The company operated up to 5 aircraft, including Britten-Norman islanders (retired in 2014) and Cessna 208B Grand-Caravans.
In addition of the scheduled flight and charter flight services, St Barth Commuter provides medical transport services with the Cessna Caravans.
As the French Civil Aviation authorized us to take off by night, our aircrafts are available 24/7 to operate medical flights to St. Martin, Guadeloupe or Martinique. St Barth Commuter operates an average of 200 medical flights per year.
Pandemic and crisis impacting global economy and in particular aviation industry were a challenge for the company. During CARIBAVIA 2022 special event at St Barths, we had the pleasure to meet and discuss with Bertrand Magras, the Managing Partner of St. Barth Commuter.
Q. How was the idea born in 1994 to create St.Barth Commuter?
A. The idea came from my father, Bruno Magras and hisfriend, an aircraft mechanic, Michel Martinon, following the cessation of activity of the company Air St Barth.
There was a particular demand between Juliana (SXM) and St Barth (SBH), not only for regular passengers’ flights, but also for customers who could not arrive directly at St Barth by jet just because our runways is too small. So back then we started with charters and we then obtained regular line rights on Juliana and Grand Case airport, the one on the French side.
Q. After a strange period of restrictions and inactivity, how did you experience the 2021 recovery and what can you say about the first 6 months of 2022?
A. Activity has been a real roller coaster, at the pace of travel restrictions. We had a little activity in the summers of 2020 and 2021 as well as during the end of 2020, which allowed us to keep our heads above water. The beginning of 2022 has been very busy. In my opinion, partly it is due to "revenge travel", people willing to make up for time lost during the pandemic.
Q. Has the profile of travelers changed post pandemic?
A. Not really, even if we note that the share of American tourists is on the rise. I believe that many have "discovered" St Barth in the summer and tell themselves that in the end, even if you must fly 4 hours from New York, the nature and offers are as pleasant as the Hamptons or Nantucket.
Q. Bertrand, if we talk about development - what are your plans for the next 2 years?
A. I prefer the term evolution instead development, which implies always more and always bigger. Our main goal is to keep doing what we do well. Strengthen some regular lines and perhaps explore other opportunities. We are closely following the AAM (Advanced Air Mobility) subject with projects that are promising in the form of eSTOL and eVTOL.
Finally, we are always on the lookout for new tools around digital technology. Whether it is to be more efficient and give our teams the best tools, but also to improve the passenger experience. Our app should be available soon.
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