Premier and Minister for Finance Dr the Hon. D. Orlando Smith has once more reiterated that Government’s $7Million investment into BVI Airways is not unorthodox or out of the ordinary. In fact, the Premier stressed that such arrangements have been adopted by other governments to ensure much needed airlift in order to expand the tourism industry.
While responding to Leader of the Opposition Hon. Andrew Fahie during the House of Assembly on 18 April Hon. Smith assured that due diligence was taken before approving the investment: “Madam Speaker, the establishment of BVI Airways was based on a sound business case which involved assessments of cost of operations, expected tourist arrivals and other relevant factors.”
In noting that such arrangements are common, Premier Smith announced: “The tenets of the BVI Government’s agreement with BVI Airways provide for that of a subsidy. This is very much like the subsidies that countries throughout the Caribbean give to airlines in order to get them to fly into their various destinations.”
Further the Premier explained that Government employed checks and balances: “My Government went a step further in that this subsidy has been tied to certain milestones before actual commencement of service, since BVI Airways was essentially restarting its operations and doing so with different and more complex aircraft on a new route.”
“We continue to expect that it will be self-sufficient once it is able to go through a complete year of operations. And as previously stated it is expected, according to the agreement, that BVI Goverment would recover the injection of cash within the term outlined in the agreement,” Hon. Smith added.