By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff
Following the reopening of the territory’s borders to tourism on Monday, the scenes at the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport have been described as “very busy” with hundreds of arrivals spread across more than 25 booked flights scheduled for the first two days.
BVI News was reliably informed that approximately 150 passengers entered the territory on the opening day, with more than 100 of that number being tourists.
Our news station was on the grounds of the Beef Island-based facility on Tuesday, when the first scheduled flight for the day from InterCaribbean Airways landed just before midday with a total of nine passengers.
Passengers were observed exiting the arrival lounge about 20 to 30 minutes after the flight had landed, and were paired with the person(s) – whether family or friend – with whom they had travelled.
After filling out the necessary documentation, the passengers were observed having their temperature checked, and were sanitised by airport security staff, before being directed to another section to be briefed and accessorised with the mandatory GPS tracking technology.
The tracking bands were placed on the wrist of each passenger. Afterwards, they made their way to an assigned taxi operator who was parked nearby.
16 flights scheduled for today
BVI News spoke to one of the taxi operators Ras Ajacobiah, who described reopening on Monday, December 1 as ‘eventful’ with the volume of traffic exiting the airport.
He said more of the same is expected today, with at least 16 flights scheduled.
“I heard my president say we have about 16 flights today, I don’t know if he has a head count but 16 flights mean that we will be running our wheels off,” Ajacobiah stated.
“We have a preliminary chart with flights coming in but even yesterday people that were not scheduled on our list as to arrive, they were getting confirmed by government and taking flights so there was an excess of people that we didn’t have on list. So that made the situation a little bit more hectic in a positive light,” the taximan further told our news centre.
Very busy Monday
Ajacobiah also said he was greatly surprised by the volume of persons entering the territory on the opening day, as it was not what he anticipated.
“Yesterday was expected to be a passive day as far as transporting the guests back and forth. But from the first jump, I was the first one here and I moved the first passengers that came in around 10 am in the morning and honestly, I didn’t get a break yesterday. As you go, you meet your destination and you come right back and we just had to load up again and keep going,” Ajacobiah told BVI news.
He added: “We were expecting the flights to be a little stagnant but they were coming so rapidly and we had about eight drivers and we were just rotating the lines. I think we should have had about nine flights yesterday, if I remember correctly. But there were more. Some of the airlines brought more than one leg of the flight.”
Concerns do exist
The taxi operator also expressed that he has some concerns as it relates to the COVID-19 virus but assured that he is taking all the necessary measures to ensure that he is properly protected while executing his duties.
“There is a major concern because we take very precautious care not to handle the bags hands-on. We use our gloves and our masks and so on and we sanitise before and after and we wipe down and disinfect as well. All the vehicles that we use, we have a partition between driver and passenger which is plastic and well secured, just in case if the people are sneezing and coughing, it doesn’t hit us directly,” he explained.
The BVI reopened its borders to tourism after being closed for approximately eight months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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