The landing of the Titan Airways Airbus a318 aircraft at the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport on 20 December was not only historical, but according to Premier and Finance Minister Hon. Andrew Fahie this flight marked the beginning of a new era of BVI airlift.
The plane which is the largest commercial plane to arrive in the Territory was a chartered flight that started in the United Kingdom, and flew to the Territory via Canada where it refueled. Military aircrafts of that size have landed here at Beef Island before.
The success of the flight has now opened the door for similar flights to and from the BVI. This announcement was made by the Premier on 7 January during his guest appearance on the Honestly Speaking radio program.
The Premier noted that the Government still has intention to expand the Terrence B Lettsome Airport. In fact, Hon. Fahie said that Cabinet has already authorized the BVI Airports Authority to negotiate for the land to facilitate the expansion.
In further assuring that the runway will be expanded Hon. Fahie said, “With the expansion of the airport – which is something government definitely has to get involved in – based on the economy of the Territory and based on the businesses being requested. While people will say fix the infrastructure first this is a matter of the chicken and egg which one comes first it will always be an argument. If you don’t get the people in to get the revenues fix the infrastructure you still have a problem. Everything is based on revenue for the Territory so with that now we are not only looking at lengthening the airport and improving the facilities at the airport.”
Meanwhile, the BVI Leader said that the plan is to make great use of the best runway the Territory currently has. “We are also looking at how we are going to do that because we will maximize what we have right now.”
In noting the landing of the Titan airplane and what it means for the Territory the Premier said, “As you can see there are larger planes that have landed, be it that they were private; still it was able to answer the questions that we had about how these planes would be able to land. We had the a318 from Titan airlines jet that came in and landed. Now that has rekindled the conversation with all the other major airlines that do have a318 that have now started the conversation through the BVI Airports Authority and the Board so that we can get flights directly coming in from the United States.”
Hon. Fahie explained that there are numerous initiatives in the pipeline all geared at maximizing and expanding the airlift that the Territory currently has. Hon. Fahie said: “There are a lot of changes that we know that we will be able to improve airlift. Conversations have been held with Caribbean Airlines, more conversations with LIAT. We have even have Sky High Aviation now flying their 50 seat jet during Christmas and they will be doing direct flights from here to Santo Domingo. Right now, just last year, we were able to sign …for InterCaribbean that would go from here straight to Punta Cana…. From there you could go the whole entire world and they are also exploring other options and how we get direct flights from Miami down to here. We expect a lot of them are going to come to reality in 2020.”