Air access to the Territory has gotten a little easier now that a new nonstop flight from the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport to Miami International Airport in Florida USA has been announced. The great news came on 12 January and was described as a major boost to the BVI’s airlift woes.
The direct flight will be offered by BVI Airways via its 86 seat-airplane that is touted to include a gourmet meal in its first class section and comfy leather seats in its coach section. Most exciting is that the flight is two and half hours long.
In making the announcement Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith mentioned that the Government will be investing in the service: “The government is investing $7M over a three-year period time. We expect to recoup this money, because there is a sharing arrangement as it goes on…There is no seat guarantee, it’s just an investment to get it up and running which will be recoup because of the agreement we have.”
“As a result, we expect consequential infrastructural development in the tourism sector; higher participation of BVI businesses in activity outside of the BVI, and ultimately more employment opportunities for our people. The partnership with BVI Airways is meant to fill the immediate need to solve our air access issues and constitutes another investment by my Government in the continued development of the BVI economy and its people,” the BVI Leader announced.
Hon. Smith pointed out that the direct flights between Miami and the BVI will commence in the Fall of this year. He explained that the Fall may sound a long way away, but that this time was chosen because there is a lot of preparation required to get the planes to fly full to and from Miami.
Chairman of the BVI Tourist Board, Mr. Russell Harrigan lauded the new direct flight and stated that it is a great boost to the BVI as a tourism destination: “We will for the first time take charge of our future and our collective objective of building a year round destination, tapping new markets, expanding our annual calendar of events and growing events such as the Lobster Fest, doing more in sports tourism, we will have an airline partner for our summer and fall packages, and yes tapping into the BVI Brand in the financial services space to encourage more persons to do business here, as well as vacation in the BVI.” “Additionally, this flight also has the potential to create completely new business opportunities”. Part of the preparations before the first flight includes the BVI Airways management meeting with Air Safety Support International (ASSI) to garner approval as the officials announced that they require approval from the regulators in both the United Kingdom and USA.