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By Latrishka Thomas

The first commercial flight to touch down at VC Bird International Airport since the Covid-19 lockdown arrived last night, thanks to the crew of which Antiguan-born pilot, Brian “Bizzle” Chase, was a key member.

The American Airlines direct flight from Miami International Airport also brought approximately 150 nationals home from their forced extended trip due to the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to a sprinkling of tourists.

Chase told Observer that it was not by chance that he wound up in the cockpit of the first aircraft to be welcomed back to the country of his birth, which reopened its borders on June 1.

“Actually, I was originally supposed to be in St Lucia [Wednesday] and Grenada [Thursday] night, but a fellow colleague of mine, I asked him, ‘are you willing to switch with me so I can go home and take my people home?’ he said during an interview on Observer AM.

Chase confirmed that, ahead of the “homecoming” flight, the crew would have been supplied with adequate health and safety equipment.

“They normally have everything all set up to pick up, your face coverings and what not, so they do take care of us, make sure we are safe and in turn that the passengers are safe,” he shared.

He also shared that a number of important checks had been conducted in preparation for the journey.

Meanwhile, the pilot said that although several industries are pondering their future, following the fallout from the virus, he believes the airline business will recover in a relatively quick time.

“Aviation has this way where every seven to 10 years, it’s like a cycle, where things go on a decline, then within a few years after it will come right back up. So, although we are in a decline right now, I am sure within two years or so this aviation industry will be back to where it was because a few short years ago we were struggling to find pilots,” Chase said.

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