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New Miami-BVI air service runs into some turbulence
Published on July 6, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

BVI Airways BAe Avro 146 RJ100 aircraft

By Caribbean News Now contributor

ROAD TOWN, BVI -- The recently announced direct flights operated by BVI Airways between the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport in the British Virgin Islands and Miami International Airport in Florida appear to have encountered some unexpected turbulence even before take-off.

Responding to a news release by BVI Airways on July 4, BVI premier and minister of finance, Dr Orlando Smith, said, “The government has fully discharged its responsibility to BVI Airways by providing $7 million as a subsidy in keeping with the terms of the agreement.”

Smith added, “The government therefore hopes that BVI Airways will begin flights without any further delay.”

The privately owned airline had earlier issued a press release in which it blamed the BVI government for it missing the initial date for the commencement of flights.

“The original October 2016 launch date was contractually extended as a result of delays stemming from the government of the BVI,” the airline said.

The airline noted that it has obtained all the necessary regulatory approvals to launch the direct service, but there are still “outstanding obligations and matters” between the parties to be resolved.

BVI Airways did not specify the “outstanding obligations”, but there has been some speculation that it may be seeking more money from the BVI government.

The original announcement by Smith that the BVI government would inject $7 million of public money into the airline that, at the time, was not in possession of any aircraft to operate the route between the BVI and Miami, created an intense public outcry.

In ruling against objections for the route from local airline VI Airlink, along with InterCaribbean Airways from Turks and Caicos Islands, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) noted the BVI government’s support for BVI Airways.

“The British Virgin Islands government states it support for the application of BVI Airways, and asserts that the objection lodged by VI Airlink is contrary to the interests of the British Virgin Islands, and is interposed as an improper delaying tactic that should be dismissed,” the DOT said in February when it approved the application from BVI Airways.
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