Caribbean Airlines which is a major regional carrier that mainly plies the north American route is in serious talks with the government and Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie said that this development along with LIAT arrangements is strengthening further airlift options to and from the BVI.
In a statement to the House of Assembly Hon. Fahie announced that an eight member team from Caribbean Airlines (CAL) visited the BVI from 29 January to 1 February, on a Fact-Finding Tour.
Premier Fahie said that the Caribbean Airline team visited the BVI with a view to exploring expansion of their network to include Tortola using their ATR fleet. “The first stop on the tour witnessed a presentation of their intention to the Honourable Premier of the Virgin Islands, the Financial Secretary, the Board of Directors of the BVI Airports Authority (BVIAA) and other key stakeholders essential to realising operations in the Territory,” Hon. Fahie noted.
“Discussions are ongoing between CAL and the various Government Agencies and key stakeholders, including the BVIAA, as the airline has indicated it must take into consideration the regulatory framework and requirements of the respective Territories. May I say that this is a positive step in our mission to improve airlift access for Virgin Islanders, residents and visitors,” the Premier pointed.
LIAT which plies the intra-regional network is also part of the grand airlift plan as the Premier mentioned that LIAT’s interest in the BVI as a market and as a connection hub for air travel is very high.
“On 22 January, 2020, a two (2) Member delegation from LIAT met with the Board of Directors of the BVIAA to discuss the airline’s continuing relationship with the BVI. One of the areas discussed was that the BVI being able to advise LIAT on preferred routes that the BVI wishes LIAT to operate. The Board, at that meeting advised LIAT that they are interested in a route between Beef Island and San Juan along with the re-introduction of the overnight flight from Beef Island. LIAT has promised to investigate both requests and revert to the Board,” Hon. Fahie disclosed.
The BVI Leader stated that these are all great strides for the BVI Tourism sector. “Mister Speaker, in conclusion, by increasing the airlift capacity, passenger experience and passenger volume, we will increase the economic opportunities for our Virgin Islands people, from our hotels and bed and breakfast providers, to our food and catering, bars, taxi drivers, and tour operators, so that they can earn more money to provide for themselves and their families.”