Can't Say When BVI Airways Will Start Flying

Melissa Edwards, Senior Reporter | 3 Opinions
Published: June 15, 2017 8:31 am AST
Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
After investing $7.2M in BVI Airways, the Territory's Finance Minister said he is not in a position to state when the airline will start direct flights between the BVI and U.S mainland.

The airline has already missed several deadlines, with its last promise being this month, June.

"I too understand that BVI Airways has gotten all the permission necessary to provide this service, but BVI Airways has not yet announced a start-up date for service, as although it now has all of the regulatory approvals to fly, it is still in the process of finalising its operational requirements. The service, tickets, are therefore not yet available to the public," Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith said.

He was at the time responding to several questions posed by the Opposition Leader, Hon. Andrew Fahie, in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, June 13.

"But records will show in this Hon. House, that we were told that BVI Airways would fly soon, and that you could have gone online to book flights. So I left the House and I was trying to find the site. So the Premier is now saying that site never existed?" Hon. Fahie further pressed.

"I was not asked about sites and I did not mention sites. What I said was that the BVI Airways has not yet announced the start-up date for service, because although it has all the regulatory approval, they are still in the process of finalising its operational requirements," Premier Smith insisted.

Hon. Fahie continued, "So you don't have an idea when they will start to fly or where you can go to book flights?"

He noted that before an airline starts to fly, they there is a 90-day lead time to get on to the system to book flights.

"So is it safe to say that BVI Airways, based on that, will be operating within that given timeframe because they gone with $7M, so they have to be able to tell you something when they will be able to fly," the Opposition Leader put to the Premier.

Premier Smith maintained his earlier answer.

"...Still in process of finalising its operational requirements and it includes (information for) booking flights. When they have completed all the operations, I presume they will make that announcement," the Finance Minister stated.

"For the record, I am really for the flight. I am just against the structure of the agreement and I want to state that for the record. Good initiative, but bad contract," Hon. Fahie commented.

The airline has been pushing out several press releases, but no mention of when the direct flights will commence.

Compliance With Agreement

Despite the many missed deadlines, Premier Smith has insisted that the airline is in full compliance with the contract signed between BVI Airways and the Government of the Virgin Islands.

"Yes, BVI Airways is in compliance with the contract signed between BVI Airways and the Government of the Virgin Islands," he said in response to more questions.

Hon. Fahie also sought to ascertain if there are provisions in the agreement and addendum agreement for termination by the Government for non-performance by the airline.

Premier Smith said that the agreement, like any other commercial agreement, has provisions for termination by either side if particular conditions outlined in the agreement are not met.

Readers' Opinion

Please note that the opinions posted are the opinions of its author and does not reflect the views of the management, staff, parent company or sponsors of Virgin Islands Platinum News.