If you have not heard of Western Air Bahamas before, you’ll be well acquainted with them now. A 35-year-old Black woman with a longstanding goal to improve the aviation industry, runs this Black-Owned airline. Did we mention it is one of the largest Black-owned and operated airlines worldwide, and it’s only expanding!

The Start of Western Air

Sherrexcia “Rexy” Rolle, Esq. is the Vice President of Operations, and General Counsel at Western Air. When Rexy and her family started their aviation business, they serviced part of the industry that desperately needed a solution. Headquartered at San Andros Airport in Andros Island, Bahamas, Western Air Limited is owned by Rexy’s parents. Her father is a pilot, and her mother an international business professional. One day, during a family trip from Florida to the Bahamas, the island they are from, they came up with the idea to start an airline. Mainly, they noticed increased delays and flight interruptions on their trip and knew they could fix that. 

Photo Credit: Western Air Bahamas

Rex Rolle, Rexy’s father, is the President and CEO, and her mother, Shandrice Woodside-Rolle serves as Vice-President & COO of Western Air. In her role, Rexy manages day-to-day operations, and drives company expansion. After getting her Masters degree and JD, she focused on aviation and business law to align her work experience with her family business. It paid off! Her business and aviation lawyer expertise has been instrumental in driving the airlines growth trajectory. In an interview with Essence, Rexy states, “Things I immediately started working on, I grew more and more passion towards. So now, this is the acquisition and expansion phase.”

A Black Woman in Aviation

Rexy’s presence comes at a pivotal time for the aviation industry. She challenges the outdated role of the ‘good old boys club’ and their exclusivity. Her journey into this prominent role required immense determination, resilience, and hard work. Since the driving force behind Rexy’s endeavors is her commitment to addressing gender and racial diversity within aviation, she aims to use her influence to redefine industry norms.

“I immediately understood that there was some curiosity about me being there. It wasn’t until you [I] start speaking to people that they understand, ‘she’s not just somebody’s assistant, she’s actually involved in the industry,'” said Rexy. 

“I definitely find there are some preconceived notions to what an airline executive should be [because] I think they’ve always looked a certain way…So it’s about combatting that, and understanding that your work must speak for itself,” she continued. 

Western Air Continues to Grow

Photo Credit: Western Air Bahamas

Under Rexy’s guidance, Western Air Limited has achieved notable milestones and continuous growth as the largest privately owned airline in The Bahamas. The airline has over 230 employees, solidifying its position as the largest Black privately-owned airline in the world. Rexy led the company expansion and international operations all before reaching the age of 30. Today, her visionary leadership continues to steer the airline towards unprecedented success.