BVI News

First-ever large commercial plane lands on Beef Island

Not the aircraft mentioned in the story.

By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff

History was created in the British Virgin Islands on Friday, December 20 as the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport welcomed its largest-ever commercial flight to the territory.

An estimated 60 passengers travelling on Titan Airways Airbus A318 arrived on Beef Island around 3:30 pm on a direct flight from Canada.

Premier Andrew Fahie was among the many dignitaries who were present during the historic occasion and said more of the same arrivals are anticipated in the territory.

“This is one of many things to come … Right now when we have a 318 like this that can land on our runway coming straight from Canada, that left Canada this morning at 7:30, and was a direct flight and landed here, and still had about 2,000 feet left when it landed shows that we are in for big things here in the BVI with planes of this size,” Premier Fahie stated.

“This plane carries roughly 132 in commercial passengers but being that this one here is not a commercial flight and not suited for commercial passengers, it’s about 50 or 60 passengers around there that we had.”

BVIAA board plans to increase air traffic

Just a few days prior, Premier Fahie had stated in the House of Assembly that the BVI Airports Authority is in involved in a number of negotiations with various airline companies.

He said the negotiations are to enhance and increase the air service delivery to the territory and to position local airports among the best rated in the region.

“In October 2019, a delegation led by the Chairman of the BVI Airports Authority and the BVI Tourist Board travelled to Trinidad to commence negotiations with CAL (Caribbean Airlines Limited) on the introduction of service to the BVI. The discussions were fruitful and CAL immediately began to explore the possibility of operating under service route, between Barbados and the BVI, previously serviced by LIAT,” the Premier stated.

He further said: “They also explored connecting the rest of the world to the BVI by providing service to Punta Cana. The feedback received by CAL were very positive and the Authority is currently awaiting a proposed schedule from CAL, for service in the BVI.”

Negotiations with Silver Airways

The Premier also revealed that the BVIAA board also met with Silver Airways – which owns Seaborne Airlines that currently services the Beef Island to San Juan route – to have them enhance air service delivery to the territory.

“Silver is in the process of changing out their aircraft fleet to the ATR’s and is expected to service the BVI with their ATR 72 aircraft, commencing in the first quarter of 2020. They are also expected to add additional destinations within the region from the BVI, providing greater accessibility and enhanced service delivery to the territory,” Premier Fahie stated.

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  1. Truth says:

    The Premier has always been saying to maximize what we have at the airport. This for sure does that and it is signs of great things to come.

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    Dislike 3
  2. Nyc says:

    It would be nice if Delta Airlines can fly direct from JFK to Tortola. Every time I come home, I have to fly to Miami or Atlanta from New York before I get to St.Thomas then catch the ferry to Tortola.

    Like 12
  3. VG Resiident says:

    This plane is configured for 32 passenger so a very light load. That is the reason it could land and take off at EIS Fully loaded no way.

    Like 11
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    • Hmmmm says:

      The article clearly stated about 60 people were on the plane.

      Like 6
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      • @hmmm says:

        The plane has 32 seats. Not because the article or whoever say 60 means it was true.

        Also the information is not hard to verify.

    • MRiley says:

      Sorry but you have been mis-informed. The Airbus A318 is configured by each individual airline. The certified seating capacity is up to 132 with the typical configuration being 107 to 132. British Airways currently operates the aircraft in Trans-Atlantic service with 32 seats(which may be where you got your into).

  4. wow says:

    how many large planes can the airport hold at a time?

  5. STRUPES says:

    Cyril romney was the first and the UK army was the second so stop all the lies

    Like 5
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  6. Something to think about says:

    It’s relatively easy for a light plane of only 32 passengers with no luggage or weight to land on our airstrip. The question remains, however, can these large airplanes land and take off when they are filled to capacity? Lets take into account fuel load, luggage load of 50lbs each of nearly one hundred passengers, plus the weight of the passengers themselves. This is what usually requires a place extra runway to land and take off. I think I will be a bit more excited if I see an airbus with normal traveling weight, land and take off.

    Like 11
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  7. VG Resident says:

    The plane started at London City Airport, flew to Halifax for fuel and then to the BVI. Get your story straight. Too many errors.

    This flight is a one off and not indicative of commercial jet flights. A220-100 could land and take off at EIS (But would have to land at SJU to pick up fuel) Not sure it could take off from EIS with a full load of fuel.

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  8. lol says:

    Very shoddy journalism – the aircraft is configured in 32 lie flat seats so it had only 32 passengers. Even a lazy journalist doing a quick google check could have found that out. Where on earth you get 50 or 60????

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    • Snoppy says:

      The premier stated that the plane capacity is 132 and had approximately 60 passengers in the video from gis

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      • Here goes... says:

        An A318 can carry around 132 passengers depending on how it is configured. The Titan aircraft are for high end charter and has 32 seats (google it if you want clarification). There is no way an A318 could take off from Beef Island with 132 passengers and fuel to take it to the mainland USA. The balanced field length for the aircraft is nearly 6,000ft, while slightly complicated this is basically the amount of runway a commercial operator would need to fly a fully fueled and loaded aircraft.

      • Aircraft person says:

        Shows how much he knows or maybe he does not care

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  9. 32 says:

    60 people on a 32 seater?oh yes its an airbus so it has room for standing passengers lol

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  10. ivers says:

    Loll….you’ll killing me
    Real third would people.

  11. :) says:

    Guys it’s Christmas season take a break from the hate.

  12. Deh Watcha says:

    Some of these commenters sound like they vex the plane land here.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
    • Aviator says:

      nobody vex. Just bad journalism and incorrect reporting. If planes of this size carrying 130 passengers on a commercial flight to the BVI from say Miami could have landed. … Don’t you think this would have been done years ago? Why would American have brought in the 16 flights per day in 2012.? No. they would have brought in bigger flights direct. Stop trying to get PR out of a bunch of LIES.

      30 people with little bags and little fuel on a vacation could land. Yes. But not a full load. And trust me the commercial guys ain’t coming unless they have at least 75% of their seats filled.

      Stop misleading the public ya’all.

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  13. Not Hate says:

    People tired of this Government with their dog and pony show, trying to get PR out of everything.

    They think people stupid!!

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  14. Factcheck says:

    From wikipedia. This isn’t that hard….

    The Airbus A318 is the smallest airliner in the Airbus A320 family. The A318 is usually configured to carry 107 to 132 passengers and has a maximum range of 3,100 nmi (5,700 km; 3,600 mi)

    Key facts:
    Maximum landing weight (MLW) 57,500 kg (126,800 lb)
    Maximum take-off weight (MTOW) 68,000 kg (150,000 lb)
    Takeoff run required at MTOW = 1780m/ 5840ft
    Landing run required at MLW = 1230m/ 4040ft
    EIS has one lighted 4,642 ft long runway

    Therefore, that model aircraft can land at EIS at its max landing weight, but to take off it will have to be below max take-off weight and possibly refuel elsewhere with a longer runway depending on the distance of is intended destination.

    This is still progress!!

    • @Factcheck says:

      If you want to play with 600ft of wiggle room on landing, be my guest. I for sure won’t be stepping foot on one of those planes carrying max weight landing at EIS…

  15. Wondering says:

    I am not seeing VI Airlink anywhere in this discussion. Were they even approached? And will government be subsidising these flights? We need full disclosure of whatever deals are negotiated.

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