A Long-Term Relationship: From Day One to the Bahamas’ Largest Privately Held Airline
A conversation with Captain Rex Rolle, President & CEO, Western Air
Western Air is the largest privately owned airline in the Bahamas with a fleet size of 22, flying to nine locations. Founded in 2001 by a husband-and-wife team, the airline now operates from its new passenger terminal facility located at the Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport, Bahamas.
Captain Rex Rolle, President & CEO
San Andros, Bahamas
What are the biggest challenges you face as a business?
Since we operate daily scheduled flights throughout the Bahamas and charters throughout Central and South America and the greater Caribbean, we require a diverse fleet to serve and meet our passengers’ needs. As we have grown, our aircraft needs have grown with us. Operating out of the Caribbean tends to make acquiring aircraft more complex than a deal done in the U.S. In addition to the challenges that come with operating an airline, we often face additional intricacies with our purchases and make financiers wary.
How did Enterprise help solve these challenges?
When we first met the Enterprise team, they took the time to become experts in the Caribbean market, making them invaluable to us. Like any long-term partnership, there have been learning curves to navigate along the way, but they never wavered in their commitment to us.
Years into our relationship, each new project still starts the same way. The team begins by working to understand the goals of the acquisition, which helps us ensure we’re making the right decision. Their questions and feedback are always well-thought out, and I can depend on their expertise and understanding our specific needs. In the early days of our relationship, they often traveled to us to learn about the local market and walk through each deal. To this day, they provide each deal the same attention, and it rarely takes longer than a day to have our questions answered.
What is the impact on your business?
We are now the largest privately held airline in the Bahamas, and we couldn’t have gotten where we are without their support. They’ve helped us purchase a number of Embraer ERJ145s, Saab 340As, Beechcraft 1900s, Fairchild Metro IIIs and Merlins, numerous Chieftain Panthers, Aztecs, King Air 100s and a Learjet.
No matter the challenge or opportunity we throw their way, they always dig in and help us arrive at a solution. Finally, we genuinely enjoy our relationship with them, which makes working together all the better.