BVI News

BVIAA to VI Airlink: We have to ease burden on the treasury

The territory’s main airport on Beef Island.

By Esther Durand, BVI News

While stating that it sympathizes with VI Airlink and is open to having talks with the local airline, the BVI Airports Authority (BVIAA) has said its main priority is to implement strategies that help the authority in becoming a more viable entity.

The BVIAA was responding to criticism from the VI Airlink pilot, Neville Brathwaite Jr who criticised the authority’s decision to start building and renting hangar spaces to airlines. The previous and cheaper arrangement was that VI Airlink was able to lease or own land at the airport for up to 25 years.  

In its response on Thursday, the BVIAA said it “has been mandated to be prudent in the management of its operations so that it reduces the burden on the treasury.”

“Meeting this directive means having to develop and optimize aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenue streams. Rental of hangars is one source of aeronautical revenue that most airports around the world rely on for income, and the BVIAA is intent on responsibly managing this asset when construction is completed,” the authority added.

The BVIAA said since their hanger stock at the Beef Island-based facility was destroyed, rebuilding from the ground up became the only option.

“The then Board of Directors and Management opted to make the best of the unfortunate situation and to design a rebuilding programme that takes into account the intentions for expansion and upgrade of the facilities at Beef Island and which falls into the scope of the master plan for the new airport infrastructural development.”

“The new and present Board of Directors and the Management team inherited certain arrangements already in place, but made a decision to go a step further and to execute a plan that would facilitate resilience, expansion of revenue generation capacity over the long-term, and cater for demands over the next 50 years,” the statement added.

Increase in demand for hangars

The government statutory body explained that there is now an increase in demand for hangar facilities “that is beyond the pre-hurricanes level”.

“This demand is expected to grow even further when current efforts to attract additional airlift providers begin bearing fruit. In this regard, and considering the medium- to long-term strategy and projected land use, it is necessary to relocate the hangars to a different parcel of BVIAA real estate,” it explained.

The legal formalities for the relocation of hangars have been recently completed, and preliminary engineering work has begun to facilitate the construction of new hangar facilities in the near future, the BVIAA stated.

Meetings to be had with VI Airlink

While empathising with how their plans have already begun to affect VI Airlink — which says it now pays exorbitant fees to maintain their flight abroad — the BVIAA said it is willing to discuss an amicable arrangement between itself and VI Airlink.

The authority said: “As a BVI-branded, BVI-owned and BVI-registered airlift provider, VI Airlink’s decades of service to the territory and its role in creating a proud Virgin Islands legacy, cannot and will not be treated lightly. It is, therefore, the intent of the Authority to convene a meeting shortly with the management of VI Airlink to explore options for lessening the challenges facing the local airline.”

“The authority is confident that by working together, both parties can find a solution that works for all stakeholders,” it added.

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  1. Make it happen says:

    That’s reasonable enough.

    Like 12
    • Yes says:

      Exactly! This is what’s needed, both sides of the story and sensible decisions being made. I was upset at first when I heard about this situation but I can’t fault BVIAA for doing what’s best in the interest of making the Airport viable and moving towards the future as opposed to thinking about ‘now’. I think VI Airlink should get preferential rates for renting the Hangars and whatever other easements can be afforded to them. We cannot continue to shout our own our own but then treat them like shit. Some will say well they’re a business and such is life, but VI Airlink is more than a business to this Territory, especially with what transpired after Irma. They should be lauded for their efforts and I hope they get some satisfaction sooner than later.

      Like 20
      • Independent Observer says:

        Just wanted to say that if it wasn’t for VI Airlink, Maria may have destroyed many of us in Puerto Rico. This airline came for us and flew us home to our families hours before Maria hit. Many of us did not see our families or homes since Irma hit as we were traveling for BVI business or otherwise. Many of us were stranded at the airport for days. For days we were paying two and three airlines for flights that never left with no refund. This airline brought us home and told us sort out the payment when we get home. It was a proud moment knowing that a local cared and could rescue you in a time of need. And that flight, it was awesome; the pilot, he was professional and flew excellently and he put us at ease until we touched down to a BVI different in every way than we left it. Nevertheless, we were so grateful to be home. Kindness should never be forgotten. I trust something could be sorted out as the article says. Best wishes VI Airlink.

        Like 10
    • Rubber Duck says:

      Charging ludicrous rates for hangar space is not the way to attract new carriers. And the country needs new carriers to support the tourist industry.

  2. Translation says:

    Hanger space will be built and used for private jets because they will pay the lease rates. Truthfully the price paid by for large jet operations should be increased substantially to help subsidize aviation needs that benefit the general public.

  3. Grandfather clause says:

    is also a viable option, especially for a local company that has been around and stuck it out during the good and hard times; one that may become destabilized due to not having the abundance of resources as some foreign entities coming in may have access to (some get tax free concessions, pioneer status, and a whole lot of other incentives to participate). We must look after our own as well to balance the scales of competitive advantages.

    Like 11
  4. I FROM HERE says:

    Make the rate Vi Airlink is going to pay is far less than what these other airlines are going to pay!

  5. Ok says:

    The private jets should be bearing the burden of increased costs. They use the facility but provide no airlift benefit to the community.

    Like 12
  6. local aviator says:

    So BVIAA want to take out ah loan to build hanger hmm, an they dont have money to get 2 new fire trucks that the Beef Island Airpot needs because the ones they have are in very poor condition. both truck have air leak issue 1 is so bad that if the alarm goes off the firemen have to rev the engine up just to build air pressure to respond, same truck also have ah failing steering system that is so bad the firefighters are forced to drive the truck this truck dont even get tested properly an both truck have issue with there pump system if this was any where else in the world those truck wont even be used for training purpose. even the tower needs up to date equipment.

    so if you have the two company’s that had lease before willing to build there own hanger why not let them build it, it would save money out of the loan for more important stuff. obviously they have the money to do it rite away. an to there specification because they have to do maintenance on there planes an other privately own aircraft that that will be coming to the BVI.
    we kno those 2 leases are going to be sure money for ah long time then BVIAA can build the other hanger that we know is going to be short term rentals an much cheaper to build than maintenance hangers that are special attention

  7. Frequent Flyer says:

    Looking forward to an amicable decision that won’t hurt VI Airlink. Also looking forward to VI Airlink improving their customer service skills on the phone and in person. You are working for the customer. It’s not the other way around.

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