BVI News

BVI-Miami route was our idea — VI Airlink pilot

Neville Brathwaite, Jr. (Facebook photo)

Aviator Neville Brathwaite, Jr said his family’s airline, VI Airlink was the first to approach government about commencing direct flights between the BVI and Miami in the United States.

He said VI Airlink had presented an official proposal to the National Democratic Party (NDP) administration more than five years ago.

After receiving no response from the government, Brathwaite said VI Airlink was surprised to learn years later that the said administration had given $7.2 million to the controversial BVI Airways to commence flights to Miami.

“We really felt bad to watch that happen … [because] it was not their idea. It was our idea,” Brathwaite said on Tuesday.

He was speaking during the Honestly Speaking radio programme.

Brathwaite said he had personally delivered VI Airlink’s BVI-Miami proposal to members of government caucus. He said, at the time, his airline was seeking an investment from government that was considerably more than $7 million.

“Our presentation was $50 million but the aeroplanes were brand new and the aeroplanes would have lasted us for the next 25 years.”

“It was 70 seats. They were brand new aeroplanes — we could maintain them with a laptop,” the aviator explained.

VI Airlink still interested in commercial Miami route?

Asked whether VI Airlink plans to present a new proposal to government now that BVI Airways appears to be a failed venture, Brathwaite said the time is not appropriate in light of the hurricanes.

However, he suggested that his airline is not ruling out the possibility.

VI Airlink was one of two airlines that tried to prevent BVI Airways from commencing flights between the BVI and Miami.

However, VI Airlink’s campaign to block BVI Airways had failed and BVI Airways received the requisite approval it needed to fly. But it never did.

The controversial airline laid off all its staff and claimed it needed more money. 

Government is believed to be trying to recoup the seven million of taxpayer dollars it dumped into BVI Airways.

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53 Comments

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  1. Yolo says:

    We don’t need no air line stay out of the bvi waste of more tax payer money I alway go out to st Thomas to travel it is way cheaper!!!!!

    • ,SMH says:

      Not everyone likes having to travel to Stthomas to get to the Mainland. The idea of having flights direct from Beef Island seems very convenient.

      • Hmm says:

        Tola had done need flights connecting europe, north america and south america. Look at svg and st.kitts they up and pass us long time.

      • Yolo says:

        I like saving money sound like you throwing money away… did some say strip club $$$$ let’s trow all that dollars in the air

    • ??? says:

      Great idea (whomever, it was) as we need airlift between VI and US, but these guys should seek investors (not the government).

      Giving $7.4m to BVI Airways on a poorly constructed agreement was bad, but giving $50m to a business (even though well intentioned) that govt should stay out of, isn’t any better.

      Mr. Brathwaite, please take your proposal to investors and let them pay for it.

  2. Albion says:

    I’d love to see an EIS-MIA route. But I don’t understand why the taxpayer has to subsidize it. If the route is viable, why can’t an airline run it profitably like a normal business?

    • Bang says:

      You obviously do not understand the aviation industry. All national carriers especially those in small countries/territories are heavily subsidized by Government. While the business itself may not be a profitable one the value of having a national airline to the economy of smaller nations is great. Cayman Airways does not make a profit as a business but the Government keeps it going because it provides a much needed service to complement their business and tourism products. Don’t fool yourself, most airlines are subsidized in some form or another.

      • Seriously says:

        Yeah but that plane (Avro RJ 100) would need some seriously heavy subsidisation to compete with AA or Jet Blue.

        • Truth says:

          The ideal solution is to get JetBlue or Spirit to do the direct route once the extension is done and Government provides seat guarantees. Owning your ‘own’ thing always sounds good but it’s not always the best thing depending on the situation. Can BVI have its own airline? Sure! Will it cost us an arm, leg and a few toes? Hell yes! Are we ready for the sacrifice? Who knows!

          • Soothsayer says:

            Oh yes, then the plan comes together nicely: JetBlue, Spirit, American etc paying to codeshare and flight permit with whomever originally has the route.

    • To Albion says:

      I understand your point but it isn’t as simple but good points nevertheless. What we need now is the police not the ndp investigating this fraud.

    • Bandit says:

      because it’s no viable. the airline will loose their pants and shirt

  3. EAST says:

    We Can See that NDP Government is not for its ppl. they should of take ur proposal. even if they could give u the 50 million one time they should of do it in stages buy 1 plane at a time start small.as business grow and the demands gets greater u up grade. I always wanted to be a pilot but the funds.

  4. Reality says:

    Completely daft idea from the start,the only reason it was considered would have been the substantial kickbacks for those that”facilitated” the deal – ok there are other words for this behavior I know! at least we know why there is an agency established to safe guard good responsible spending to maximize the tax payers dollar..

    • @Reality says:

      I wish I could have like your post 100 times. This government has wasted too much of our hard earned tax dollars and is getting away with it. This plane deal smells and needs looking into by Scotland Yard NOW!!!

      • Get real says:

        @Reality,

        Could you like it 50million times and bankrupt the gov’t? They can’t even get 7 million let alone 50 million.

  5. Lotsa luck says:

    Govt won’t get a dime and will throw away even more money chasing money they won’t get. Idiots. The plane is sitting in Moncton,New Brunswick,Canada. Been there since August The BVI can’t afford to underwrite an airline and most certainly does not need an expanded airport. Nothing more than a chance to stuff pockets with taxpayer dollars. The Chinese company the govt has been promoting as front runner for construction has quite a history and it would be in the interest of every BVIslander to read up on this company as you will be stuck with the bill for generations.

    The BVI has far more pressing needs. Infrastructure would be nice. There are not enough hotel rooms to accommodate just 1 flight a week. Much less daily flights.

    There is no vision for the future. Well, no vision for the collective future. Several have visions of stuffed pockets.

    The tourism product is all that’s left. Raw sewage in streets, intermittent water,current and communication. Not exactly tourist attractions. BVI becoming a real 3rd world banana republic. Hopefully the UK will step in and take over as it is pretty clear governing with vision and accountability just isn’t happening.

    • No Vision says:

      You’ve said it!! Why do we need this BVI to MIA flight when.there are and have been many more important things to do like improve our territory`s infrastructure, health care, education system, etc. I’ve never understand why our government always seem to put the cart before the horse but then I realize that it’s because that’s where the cookie jar is so it’s easier to get to. Our beautiful BVI is suffering and yet instead of taking responsibility for the mess theyve made our government continues to try to hide and downplay truths. No vision whatsoever just greed for more and more personal gain is what our government is about…the curruption is appalling.

  6. Nope says:

    $50M vs $7M for the same promised result. That’s pretty easy math. Fail on that point.

    You can’t maintain an aircraft with a laptop. You can monitor the maintenance, but parts need replacing and maintaining just the same as older aircraft. Fail on that point.

    If you’re for supporting this country, why try and block BVI Airways from operating. It was no secret that it was government subsidized. Perhaps if that delay hadn’t happened they’d be flying!

  7. I wonder says:

    Ever entertained the thought of the UK selling us to the US? After all, we are so close to our USVI neighbors, family ties are already in place, and we have been spending their $ for more years than I can recall.

    • Sir Winston says:

      Selling us?
      The UK selling US?
      You might want to rephrase that but first,avail yourself of the history of the mellanated people in the VI.
      .

    • None sense says:

      Selling to America? Then you will really see the place getting taken over. With that president? People entertain ideas without considering the consequences. I like visiting America but would’nt want to see the bvi being American. I’m fine with my citizenship.

    • I wonder says:

      I can’t believe you used said “sell us”. Do you think you are slave? You clearly are clueless to the implications of what you are saying. To make it worse there are 20 dim people who actually agree.

  8. Governor says:

    Wake up and go do the people’s work and launch a full investigation into this “so called” deal right away.

    • @Governor says:

      Amen. I hope he doesn’t let the soft smooth talking questionable NDP h— that everyone giving a pass to allow he the governor to let the ndp investigate themselves or handle this matter any further themselves. We the people are watching. We know who all involved. We know who all are being protected.

      • Oh pleas. says:

        Know what. You neither know your razz from your elbow, All you and others like yourself know is say say from power mongering losers, Bruk down the Government since we cant be Premier. If u know then say what u know and let justice proceed otherwise return to sender all the tall tales with no merit.

  9. Youth says:

    To the POLICE: For a little weed we are getting locked up. For a gun we are being lost in jail but this NDP government continues to rob us and get away with it. Why is the police not looking into this $7 mill and other questionable ndp deals? If they could go free then leave we the youths on the street alone please.

    • Wes says:

      ’cause whit collar crime pays in the BVI. They never get caught much less locked up. If you have no morals just become a politician.

  10. Here we go again says:

    The only time we in the BVI can get help, money or a sweet deal from this NDP government is if you are one of their “rich white friends” as one ‘minister’ puts it.

    • Hmmm says:

      I would say that the owners of VI Link had/ has a sweet deal being subsidized by the Gov for many years. Looking at Mr Braithwaite s photo,unless he uses an extraordinary tanning lotion, he appears to be legibly black and is,according to my research,local with ancestral ties to the BVI over a century.

  11. NDP Supporter says:

    The NDP will correct this and win the next general elections by a land slide while they are at it they must fire the member from the —— district.

  12. To uncle jaspert says:

    You look like you done drink the ndp cool aid and gone fast asleep to these and many more of the ndp wrong doings that costing we the people millions while others getting fat. Uncle either do your job or go back to the UK.

  13. shamefull says:

    There’s no excuse why someone have not been arrested and gone jail for this intentional bad deal of $7 million. If government treasury collectors are off by ten dollars or even a penny they are disciplined and fired and even arrested. Well how the hell is $7 million dollars just getting away just so? SMDH!!!!!

    • Rationale says:

      I cannot conclude that it was an intentional bad deal.
      A lawsuit was initiated to deny the approval.
      BVI Airways advised and also informed publicly that expenses continued and that funds continued to dwindle during the unexpected and prolonged lawsuit,
      The lawsuit was intended to stop BVI Airways by any means,
      which it did, having bankrupt the airline.
      The money could be recouped in my opinion, if the initiator of the lawsuit is sued and held responsible for losses.

  14. Father Time says:

    It doesn’t matter whose idea it was considering the plane is missing. lmao.

  15. BoyBlue says:

    You couldn’t stop them with a denial of approval but you stopped them by having them go bankrupt.
    Typical badminded immature unsophisticated Tolian.
    In the real world you would have been rightfully sued for recoupment of the 7 million plus legal cost.
    Go fly awaaaay,buckle your seat and wait for the Karma which is coming your way.

    • To BoyBlue says:

      Some of you will try to discredit anyone just to try to save the name of your beloved NDP. What an impossible task!

    • @ BoyBlue says:

      The facts would clearly state that this is the SECOND failed airline that these individuals have been involved with. Same as the previous one, they had a set of hoopla and the plane never flew. The Tolian and his ‘unsophisticated’ tolian family has a very well run Airline that saved our a-ses in the passing of Hurricanes Maria and Irma and continues to play a crucial role in transporting people throughout the Region. Take a look at the situation and see who is really unsophisticated!

      • Hmmm says:

        Your very well run airlines is still there only because the Government susidises and otherwise give you assistance. The same Gov whose venture you ——-.
        Un——- and completely u——-l.

      • Reply says:

        Took a look as you suggested and concluded that nothing about a welfare recipient is sophisticated and least of all, one that is ungracious,ungrateful and destructive to its donor.

    • Horatio says:

      The BVIslander’s sense of entitlement carried to lengths that are self destructive. If I can’t have it then I will destroy it.
      Juvenile behaviour and outlook. I can understand why the Gov did not partner with them.

      • Hmmm says:

        Agreed. They are very un——— and feels like they are —— to the Treasury. Why they don’t tell the public what the government has done for them….

  16. E. Leonard says:

    Often, many issues have at least three sides/versions. VI Airlink has stated its side. Though I have no reason to doubt VI Airlink, nonetheless, it would probably clear the air and bring some enlightenment to the issue if government share its version. Ideally, if locals have the demonstrated knowledgeable, skills, ability, experience, capital, capacity, capability……..etc to deliver the desired quantity and quality of desired goods or services, they should be given strong consideration for assistance, contract…….etc. Spending local has a multiplier effect in and on the economy.

    Moreover, providing non-stop service between Miami International Airport (MIA) and Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS) is a challenging opportunity. The challenge is maintaining and sustaining passenger load factor (PLF)(Revenue Passenger Mile/Available Seat Mile; RPM/ASM), a critical airline economics metric. PLF, simply, is the loading of aircraft with paying customers. An aircraft needs a specific (minimum) number of paying customers on each flight to turn a profit. PLF varies among airlines, flights……etc. No airline will start or continue a route if a profitable PLF is not sustainable.

    At this juncture, non-stop flights between MIA and EIS can be challenge without public subsidy. Thus far no major airline is racing with break neck speed to start a non-stop MIA-EIS flight; it may not be profitable without a subsidy.

    Furthermore, the question is should public funds be used to subsidize non-stop flights from Miami, Atlanta, London, NY, Toronto, Paris……..etc and Beef Island to make the territory a more competive tourist destination? Would direct flights between these cities and Beef Island be a more viable option? Should modernizing/subsidizing the ferry service between St. Thomas and Tortola/Virgin Gorda be strongly considered?

  17. JOE says:

    This is a sensitive issue .There is need to clarify the deal and where the million ( taxpayers money) went. It is supposed to be an investmentfor BVI but it was surprise to learn that BVI government is not part of the Air line business and the government will not benefit from it.Who will then benefit from it after taxpayers money has been dumped into it? Transparency and accountability is needed.

  18. A man says:

    Mate, I love your service. But a cool 50m? Seriously, this territory can’t stretch to that. Keep up the good work on the routes you are doing. The Gov’t has given you generous free money for that.

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