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British Airways pilot chooses Bermuda for farewell flight

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British Airways pilot Paul Griffin has chosen Bermuda as his final flight (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A British pilot who fell in love with Bermuda chose the island for his final flight in the captain’s seat of a commercial jetliner.

Paul Griffin, 62, put an end to his professional flying days after 41 years of service.

He said that of all the places he had flown to throughout his career, Bermuda was the best place for his final voyage on the job because it was his favourite destination.

Mr Griffin explained: “Bermuda really is a paradise on Earth.

“There’s lots and lots of other places I could go, but Bermuda really is my top destination – it’s the most amazing place.

He added: “I think it takes a toll on your body. When you consider the long-haul flying with jet lag and the nights out of bed, it’s definitely the right time to stop flying.

“It’s been my pleasure to serve these islands for the last 35 years, so I will miss coming to work here.”

British Airways pilot Paul Griffin has chosen Bermuda as his final flight (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Mr Griffin was speaking on Tuesday night before boarding a British Airways flight home.

He was met by Wayne Furbert, the Minister of Transport, and representatives from the Bermuda Tourism Authority, who offered him a token of their appreciation and wished him a safe journey back.

Mr Griffin fell in love with Bermuda the first night he flew in after coming to visit a friend, an accountant who just moved to the island from Britain in 1983.

He said: “I remember well racing mopeds from one end of the island to the other in my youth.

“I would have been around 23 or 24 years old and, for someone at that age, it had a massive impact on my life.”

Mr Griffin said that the people and beauty of the island captivated him the most.

He explained: “The people are so friendly, the multicoloured cottages, the turquoise sea, the cuisine, the vibrant Front Street — the island, as far as I’m concerned, has absolutely everything.”

Mr Griffin said he had plenty of options to choose from — but he added that, because he had so many fond memories of Bermuda on a personal and professional level, “this was really the only realistic place that we wanted to come for my final flight”.

British Airways pilot Paul Griffin has chosen Bermuda as his final flight (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Mr Griffin said that he became “fanatical” over flying at a young age when his father, an air traffic controller in the Royal Air Force, took him to airports every chance he had.

He did his first solo flight at 17 and became a flying instructor as a young man.

Mr Griffin cut his teeth in the industry flying overnight freighters for three years before flying jets out of London Gatwick.

He secured a job with British Airways at 26 and served the airline for 35 years.

Mr Griffin spent ten years flying 747 Jumbo jets and six years flying Concorde, becoming one of the last to fly the supersonic jet, before switching to Boeing 777s for almost 20 years.

He has 25,500 hours of flying under his belt, including 1,550 crossing the Atlantic, and has made 75 flights to Bermuda to bring more than 25,000 passengers to the island.

British Airways pilot Paul Griffin has chosen Bermuda as his final flight (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Tarnia, Mr Griffin’s wife of 20 years, has been flying for almost 34 years and works as chief purser for a private aircraft based out of Farnborough in Britain.

Their son, Max, 26, is a senior first officer on British Airways.

Their eldest daughter, Chloe, 29, is the chief stewardess on a superyacht, while their youngest daughter, Orianne, will be studying commerce at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

Mr Griffin hopes to retire to his new house in Italy with his wife, where he will learn to speak Italian and to play the drums as part of an old dream of becoming a rock star.

He added: “I have to say, after all the attention I’ve gotten, maybe I already am a rock star in Bermuda.”

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Published August 10, 2023 at 7:54 am (Updated August 10, 2023 at 7:54 am)

British Airways pilot chooses Bermuda for farewell flight

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