While noting that his government intends to have direct flights to New York in the United States and to Europe, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith yesterday declared that his administration will not subsidize empty seats.
He made the comment while he expressed hope that BVI Airways will start operating soon.
“Once this airline goes into service, I can assure you that empty seats will not be subsidized,” said Premier Smith, who also is the minister of finance and tourism.
“I am anxiously looking forward to it (commencement of BVI Airways flights) that people can come here in the shortest time as possible.”
BVI Airways, in which the government has invested $7 million, is to fly non-stop between the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Miami in the United States.
It is currently seeking approval from the United States Department of Transportation.
“The process is with the United States so it (BVI Airways) can begin to fly very shortly, I expect,” added Premier Smith.
He maintained that, currently, the airlift problem has negative implications for the BVI’s main revenue earners – tourism and financial services.
In an effort to address those challenges, the government has invested into the privately owned BVI Airways, and is planning to extend the runway at Terrence B Lettsome International Airport.
The airport project, the government argued, will enable much larger planes to land locally.
That will present a number of other opportunities including the likelihood of more airlines serving the BVI, according to Premier Smith.
“I expect them to become the flag carrier of the BVI. But we don’t want them to just go to Miami; we want them to be able to go further afield; we want them to go to New York….” Premier Smith told the House of Assembly last evening, March 1.
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