BVI News

BVI in ‘heightened discussions’ with two airlines to fill the void of LIAT

The BVI Airports Authority (BVIAA) has said they are ‘deeply concerned’ about the possible closure of regional airline, LIAT, and said it is now exploring other possibilities so the BVI is not left disadvantaged.

Chairman of the BVIAA Bevis Sylvester said in a statement on Thursday that the Authority has engaged two other airlines.

“We are currently in heightened discussions with InterCaribbean Airlines and Caribbean Airlines, with the hope that those two private partners will be able to expand their BVI routes beyond the pre-COVID structure so that we can quickly fill the void left behind by LIAT,” he said.

Sylvester, in the meantime, has said the BVIAA is “more than ever cognizant” of the need to expand the runway at the territory’s main airport on Beef Island.

Tourism and employment boost

He said such an expansion will significantly boost local tourism and “will mean more jobs, both in the short and long- term, for Islanders”.

“This expansion of our capacity is based on projections for future use, as international travellers will be clamouring for destinations that are safe from the pandemic, or at least destinations that have proven themselves capable of managing or containing COVID-19,” Sylvester added.

In a June 19 statement this year, the Premier announced that representatives from Caribbean Airlines had visited the said airport “with a view to adding the BVI to their route network”.

“COVID-19 has, expectedly, thrown the timetables off, but we are confident that once air travel and tourism begins reawakening, these initiatives will resume,” he said at the time.

LIAT in jeopardy

He said discussions were also held with LIAT concerning the increase and improvement of the availability, reliability and quality of airlift to the territory. However, the future of that airline is now in jeopardy.

LIAT has been challenged with the COVID-19 pandemic and a review of the state of the airline has shown that the airline is “unable to pay its debts”.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, the Chairman of the airline’s four major shareholder governments – Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Barbados, and St Vincent & the Grenadines — said they will be convening a meeting “for the purpose of considering the closure of the airline”.

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  1. Hmmmmm says:

    Why they ain’t talking about how they cut all BVIAA staff by 25%. Now I got to decide if to eat today or have a roof over my head. We ain’t like the MD and his cronies who making over 70 to 100 thousand dollars. We are staff who were making under $1000 every 2 weeks. Where the h**l andew and his puppets. People suffering under the VIP.

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    • Doh says:

      Expanding the runway is a boondoggle and will kill trellis bay. But who cares we do it to ourselves every time.

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    • Hmmm says:

      African owned and operated. Doomed for failure. Need I say anything more? Oh yes, they will leave a string of debt and many people will lose. They will start up again under a different name and screw people and provide poor service. Just keep recycling like BVI politicians.

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      • @hmmm says:

        Just like a lot of American and European companies. Bilk billions of taxpaying dollars in aid or assist other corrupt entities – think Arthur Andersen – and then go off an start up under a different name. So this has nothing to do with Liat being an African company.

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        • It happens says:

          Did you say that when American Airlines pull out. O no it’s ok for a white own company to fail and leave yeah I bet

    • Election over move on says:

      Are you blaming Andrew for covid. Cause I in the State and work for the airlines guest what I jobless too. I guess I blame Andrew and the VIP. Covid screwed up many lives. Thank Andrew for keeping it from becoming a real pandemic in bvi. Show some gratitude for life. Omg election done move on. All over the world people lost jobs and suffering. But in some places jobs and loves are been lost. Thank you Andrew for the way you handle this covid you may have saved my live and many of my family thank you

  2. Local says:

    Is it Andrew fault that the economy and covid cause the airlines to stop flying. Be realistic you money to drop from the sky it’s all over the world the BVI is no different from any other country that person have either lost their jobs or hours been cut. Be thankful if you still getting something because it’s better than nothing.

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    • @local says:

      @ local shut your a** obviously you is one of the highly paid ones that wont understand how hmmmmmm feels so again shut your a**

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    • Overworked and underpaid says:

      So local. Riddle me this? You telling me the airport running at a loss for all these years? No money in the kitty or some kind of emergency reserve? Before COVID a lot mult millionaires landed here in their fancy jets. What happen to all the landing and parking fees.

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      • @overworked says:

        Ummm, I didn’t read anywhere in the article that the BVI airport was operating a loss. Liat has been operating at a loss, which has been the case for quite some time.

    • @local says:

      Its Andrews fault when he under estimated what’s going on. if he would come out with a realistic plan for opening the country then I would say give him a chance. all Andrew and the government has done is oppress the people. so tell him come with a proper plan for the country. he’s acting like Donald Trump.

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      • Andy says:

        You sound crazy. This covid is in control. This decision is not easy with covid. You folks are so ungrateful in the Bvi. Andrew saved so many lives and all y’all do is complain about him. Show some gratitude people. How many people died from covid in bvi? Don’t that count? Omg ungrateful sore losers.

    • Local says:

      It is the Foy’s fault for not opening the Territory to tourism like the rest of the Caribbean. Is he making the people suffer while he fills his belly with “consultant fees”?

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  3. Tourism says:

    LIAT wouldn’t be hurting so bad if they could open the territory safely. I wouldn’t want to run a business either dependent on BVI government saying how and when we can operate. STT airport busy as ever!! Tourists spending all that stimulus $$ And BVI is missing out on ALL of it. Best way I see to improve tourism is give the tourists and local businesses that depend on tourists a set date they can reopen so those tourists and businesses can PLAN and book trips! Alt gov did it why can’t current gov. Otherwise tourists gonna book elsewhere And have a great time so they won’t want to come back to Non reliable BVI

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    • @tourism says:

      so Liat only flies to the BVI? Jaysus, Mary and Joseph. You people sound like a bunch of idiots. There will hardly be any tourism for the 20/21 season. If you can’t see the writing on the wall based on what is happening worldwide, then you are blind. You could blog and blame everyone under the sun, but that won’t make one bit of difference. Better come up with a long term plan to cover expenses instead of sitting behind your computer beating the dead horse of opening the borders.

    • USA not the answer says:

      I talk to my friends from USVI. The people flying in from Florida and George are idiots. They don’t wear masks, they don’t social distance. People get into screaming matches with them on the ferry.
      We down to ZERO cases. Don’t mess with this stuff until the USA have their act together. We too small a country with marginal health care setup. WAIT! This is hurricane season. There is a reason LIAT went out of business. Why ‘bail them out’ (flush BVI money down the drain). Need a treatment for Covid-19 before we reopen. Stop being greedy and look at the big picture please.

  4. Good says:

    Good airline. But to expensive

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  5. Interested participant. says:

    I have a business plan which can solve the problems. Can introduce new routes and even direct flights to Cayman and Miami.

    I just need the govt to invest a few million to show willing. Let me know.

  6. Tongue Fu says:

    What Bevis can start doing is convincing his Premier to give a date for reopening to Tourism. You could talk to these guys all you want but they just like all stakeholders are looking for reopening dates so they can open their seats for sale to stand a chance of getting them sold.Business will be down for a while so companies need every chance to maximize their revenue earning capacity.

    To me Caribbean airlines is by far the better airline of the two. More financially sound, more customer service oriented, more reliable and a more modern fleet.they have 5 ATR-72 600 turbo propellers(similar to LIAT) and 14 737-800 Jets. They can use the ATR from here to feed into their St. Maarten and Antigua flights to Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados or even the USA. Even before COVID-19 they had expressed interest in running to /from the Bvi but COVID delayed that. They will need a Eastern Caribbean Hub.

    I still would like to see LIAT re-organize and re-structure or even start from scratch. More consumer options the better. Shame what happened to them. This is what politics and insularity can cause. That is another story.

  7. VG says:

    Always looking outside…why not invest in our own local airlines that already exist.

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  8. Leave says:

    I would like to know when flights will be available to the country? Because there are a lot of people who needs to leave.

  9. Wow says:

    See the wheel smoke under planes tyres! Getting out of here in a hurry for some reason !

  10. 2cents says:

    what’s the point of expanding airline service when you can’t even get an opening date for the islands. 50% of the economy will be dead. Require testing before arrival, randomly test arriving guests but come up with some plan before restaurants, hotels, villas, boats and shops are all out of business.

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