Increased Air Service from American Eagle
At a special meeting of the Airlift Task Force chaired by the Premier, the Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal, OBE, earlier this afternoon, Mr. Carlos Garcia, Station Manager of American Eagle in the BVI announced that American Eagle was going to virtually double the number of daily flights into Beef Island from San Juan starting on May 1, 2009 for the balance of 2009.
The Airlift Committee welcomed this great news which is a culmination of almost six months of lengthy negotiations with American Eagle spearheaded by the Premier after American Eagle significantly cut the number of flights to Beef Island in early September. The Premier was pleased with the end results of these negotiations which resulted in six daily flights seven days a week including an early flight from Beef Island at 7:20 a.m. and a late night flight from San Juan to Beef at 9:25 p.m.
The Premier said ‘even though we are facing the most difficult economic times in decades, American Eagle’s decision to run 42 flights a week each way between San Juan and Beef Island starting on May 1st is a reaffirmation of the BVI as a premier destination in the Caribbean.’ Mr. Garcia shared that the BVI is getting more flights per week starting in May 2009 than almost any other American Eagle destination in the Caribbean and that the round trip fares between Tortola and San Juan will start as low as $162 on May 1, 2009.
The Airlift Committee was pleased that none of the American Eagle flights starting on May 1st will require the execution of any minimum revenue guarantee agreements and American Eagle has agreed to accept all the risk associated with these increased flights.
While the Premier was very appreciative of American Eagle’s renewed interest in the BVI, he wanted to acknowledge the very special role that Cape Air played from September in keeping the airlift between Beef Island and San Juan alive especially during the winter season. By running as many as twelve flights a day and with multiple aircraft per flight as needed, Cape Air provided the BVI with great service without which occupancy would have been much worse than it really was. The Premier hoped that Cape Air would continue to provide this airlift to the BVI and perhaps expand it to other destinations such as Antigua, St, Maarten and St. Kitts.
Mr. Ajit Mathew George, Managing Director of Nail Bay and a member of the Airlift Task Force stated that this additional airlift by American Eagle could not have come at a more opportune moment for the hospitality industry in the BVI. He said that ‘this increase in seats by American will give all the hotels, villas and the boating industry an opportunity to have a much better summer and fall season that will hopefully offset an average to less than average winter season.’
Hadassah Ward, Ag. Director, is pleased that the tireless negotiations are resulting in some visible fruit and that this will bring some ease not only to the hospitality sector, but to the travelling population of the BVI as a whole.
The members of the Airlift Task Force are Hon Ralph T. O’Neal, Premier & Chairman; Mr. Myron Walwyn, Chairman BVI Tourist Board; Ms Hadassah Ward, Ag Director of Tourism; Ms Lynnette Harrigan, BVI Tourist Board; Mr. Ajit Mathew George, Managing Director Nail Bay; Mr. Martein Van Wagenberg, Managing Director Little Dix Bay; Dr Birney Harrigan, Chairman BVICCHA; Mrs. Malcia Smith-Hamilton, BVI Tourist Board; Ms. Abigail O’Neal, BVI Tourist Board; Mr. Ordley Thomson, Station Manager Cape Air BVI; Ms Najan Christopher, Premier’s Office; Mr. Carlos Garcia, General Manager American Eagle BVI, Mr. Mark Jeffers, Shift Manager American Eagle BVI; Mr. Carvin Malone, Businessman. See http://www.bviccha.org/http://www.bviccha.org/