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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