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Miss World head: Branson should start commercial flights in BVI

Chairwoman of the Miss World Organisation, Julia Morley at a fundraising event on Tortola on Sunday.

Chairwoman of the Miss World Organisation Julia Morley has called on British billionaire and founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Sir Richard Branson to commence commercial flights in the British Virgin Islands.

“Mr Richard Branson, please bring your Virgin airline. If you do nothing else, that is the best thing that you can do for the BVI,” Morley said at a fundraising gala at The Moorings on Tortola on Sunday.

Morley said the territory should ‘fight’ to get a direct route to major destinations such as Europe.

She said travelling to the BVI would be easier on persons living in or near Europe.

She also reasoned that BVI tourism would receive a considerable boost.

“I think it can be achieved and I think this is one of the things that can help a lot of people actually getting here,” said Morley, who confessed that she has fallen in love with the BVI.

“We didn’t know about the BVI and from now on, we have to do something about that,” she added.

Morley along with several beauties including the reigning Miss World Manushi Chhillar is currently in the territory to assist with hurricane recovery efforts. They arrived on Sunday.

Branson a BVI stakeholder

The Miss World Organization head reasoned that Branson should open Virgin airline flights in the BVI especially because he is a major stakeholder in the British territory.

Branson owns two of the outer islands in the BVI – Necker Island and Moskito Island.

“I truly believe that you’ve got one of the most famous people living on Necker Island. Where’s Virgin? Bring it in. Bring it on,” Morley said.

Morley made the statement on the heels of a flopped deal between local government and the privately-owned BVI Airways.

The government pumped seven million of taxpayer dollars into the airline for it to commence direct flights between the BVI and Miami in the United States.

The airline has missed all its promised dates to fly and has now claimed that it needs more money. The BVI has not recouped the $7 million.

Meanwhile, the government is also pushing to extend the runway at the Terrence B Lettsome Airport from 4645 feet to about 7100 feet so larger aircraft can land in the territory.

The government plans to finance the $250 million project through a public-private partnership.

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31 Comments

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  1. Truth says:

    He’s a business man. He knows the flights won’t generate a profit. Too bad no one else does. That’s why he’s a SUCCESSFUL business man.

  2. Beast Mode [ON] says:

    Lady did you take some of Bombas infamous mushroom tea? Branon is just the figure head – the investors make the decisions on profitable routes. BVI is not on their radar – and pray tell dis you not enjoy LIAT’s in-flight refreshments & entertainment? Or did they leave your bags in another terminal?!? Virgin Atlantic will fly here when managers walk on land!

  3. hmmmm says:

    but what he can do is run a Caribbean version

    • yes says:

      a few families run this place. Get them out of the way to see real growth and change for all.

    • Bossman says:

      Yes, like there is a Virgin Australia, there could be a Virgin Caribbean airline serving the entire region, the BVI could even have a share in the enterprise, make Beef Island a hub, you don’t need direct flights or a big runway extension, fly ATR Aircraft, it would create jobs and would become the third pillar of the economy, aviation industry!

  4. James says:

    Instead of giving one airline money, why not just give free avjet fuel to any EXISTING airline who begins regular scheduled flights to Tortola?
    Never give anyone money until they perform

  5. Seriously says:

    He has said many times that he does not believe the airport should be expanded and the BVI opened to mass tourism… for good reasons that are clearly beyond you. I would suggest you stick to Miss BVI issues and avoid politics

    • Dude says:

      @seriously…still drinking that coolaide…look on Virgin’s site and tell me whats the main `selling point of Necker…..Seclusion…do you think they would want mass tourism/commercial flights coming in to disrupt their business…one usually pays in excess of £15000 for a week on necker…no business will risk that!u gotta read between the lines//

  6. Seriously says:

    AND, how on earth does this woman know what “the best thing that you can do for the BVI” is???

  7. BVI Pilot says:

    Are you kidding? 7100ft? No Transatlantic flight can take off with full fuel under 9,000ft. Do you know how large the fuel tanks here has to be to refuel a plane? And are you really believing any transatlantic carrier will pay the route to the BVI because 20 ppl a week want to go to London, Paris, Stockholm or Munich?
    Please get real and do the math

    • UK Pilot says:

      Not strictly true on the airfield length… St Martin is “only” 7,500ft and serves transatlantic flights however your general points are valid!

  8. Alex says:

    Sir Richard Branson owns 20% of Virgin Atlantic so he isn’t able to do this even if he wanted to (which I’m pretty sure he doesn’t)…

  9. Zika says:

    The correct spelling of the island is “Mosquito” NOT “Moskito”. Please don’t contribute to misspelling/changing Virgin Islands place names.

  10. @ says:

    Government should have invested in the local airline before throwing away millions in these con artists.
    If Branson wanted to bring his airline here he would have a long time ago. Besides they can’t land here anyway.
    The BVI would need to change their approach to business. Airlines should be investing in the airport for the right to dominate the region. Do you think its for show why stateside airports have wings with company names on it.

  11. Sam the man says:

    Stick to beauty competitions instead of making ignorant I’ll informed comments….”Natures little secrets” describes the BVI perfectly we don’t want Benidorm than you… St Thomas has made that mistake….

  12. A man says:

    Gosh, I’m glad that they still have the bit in these beauty pageants where you need to demonstrate awareness and intelligence.

    Tell you what, Mr Bronson would probably very much welcome the Miss World contestants popping over to Necker to discuss this further. I don’t think the #metoo phenomenon will have reached the outer islands so nothing to worry about – what happens on Necker stays on Necker.

  13. E. Leonard says:

    Procuring and sustaining non-stop/direct flights into the VI is a some what simple process. Can airlines consistently make a profit without government subsidies? Airline operations is a service business driven by airline economics. Like putting heads in beds at hotels or putting paxs on ferries,trains and busss, airlines have to put paying passengers in seats to be profitable and stay airborne.

    Every time an airline/aircraft lifts off there is a fix cost; it must have either paying passengers or cargo to cover the fix cost, breaking even. Airlines have to operate above the break even load factor to stay in business/airborne.

    Passenger load factor (PLF), how full an aircraft is, is a critical metric in the airline business. It is the core metric that determines if an airline hold or fold. It is the ratio of revenue passenger mile to available seat mile. The PLF for each airline is different; there is no one size fits all. The bottom line is that airline must operate above the the break even load factor to stay airborne.

    How long the runway is or how modern the terminal is not what keeps airlines airborne; it is paying customers or cargo. No doubt, Branson or any other investor(s) will look closely at passenger loading before dumping money into a point to point airline route/venture.

    • Diplomat says:

      Let’s see it is not so easy for Virgin Atlantic, United, Delta, AA, South West, British Airways……..etc to decide on a whim to start a direct flight into TBLIA; it seems as if it is much more complicated process. At one time, AE had several daily flights from SJU to EIS but then they pulled out (heard the number 13 but cannot confirm it at this time). Was the declining lack of paying customers why they pullout? Was this the same reason why Air BVI stop flying? Was it the same reason why LIAT pulled out of the USVI?

      Based on the passenger load factor scenario, it look as if getting direct flights will be a major challenge without government subsidies. Was this the intent of the government $7.2M give away to BVI Airways, a bruk a..s airline that had had previous difficulties staying air borne? What is the status of Air BVI and more importantly when will taxpayers get their $7.2M back? Sure some residents can do well with a few thousands to repair their damaged priorities, since government has money to give away.

      What airlines are lining up for direct flights into TBLIA when the runway is extended? What is the status of outsourcing the extension of the runway? Are investors sprinting to sign a long term agreement to upgrade both the land and air sides of TBLIA?

  14. watcher says:

    He has probaly had enough of airlines….

    In June 2015, Richard Branson admitted that Virgin Atlantic would be in “real trouble” without strategic support from Delta Air Lines. With cumulative losses between 2010 and 2013 amounting to £233 million, the future of the 30-year-old airline was in doubt.[30] In the same month, the airline announced it would cut 500 jobs to establish a more efficient management structure.[31]

  15. Sam the man says:

    Support LIAT they are our local airline they aren’t perfect but have provided myself and my family with many flights …perhaps a subsidy to encourage them would be better…Also why doesn’t the government drop the foolish departure tax that just adds taxation costs to flights for greed? this has put many vistor’s off, its not that they can’t afford it – it’s just the principle that is wrong and they feel they are being taken advantage of because they have some money….”Leave Island Any Time….Luggage In Another Terminal” go LIAT!

    • Diplomat says:

      @Sam the Man, I’m for local and regional spending, for it has a multiplier effect on the economy. Further, I’m not averse to giving LIAT a subsidy. Nonetheless, LIAT for decades have had a monopoly on regional air transportation and squandered that opportunity. Its service is horrible. Its leadership and management leaves much to be desired. It consistently underperforms.

      To get a taxpayers subsidy, it must provide performance guarantees and a higher level of service. LIAT board of directors must expect and demand more. The Board must address the dysfunction. LIAT and Cable and Wireless were 6 of one and half a dozen of the same. CW changed somewhat becomes of competition; LIAT too needs a strong dose of competition. Nothing makes a business appreciate their customers more than a strong dose of true competition.

  16. Bimjim says:

    One tiny little problem… at just 4,000 feet the runway at Beef Island (Tortola, BVI) is too short for any jet but the older BAe146 to land on. Certainly not even medium-haul 737s or Airbus could never use it.

    So go ahead and send any number of flights to Tortola from Europe, America, Asia, wherever, they cannot land there.

    If it was that easy, don’t you think it would have been done before?

    Dumb, de dumb dumb daaaaah…

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