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American Eagle says final goodbye to the VI

- Makes last flight out of VI after more than 25 years of service
American Eagle receives a water salute before making its final departure from the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
Niche Marketing Manager of the BVI Tourist Board, Lynette L. Harrigan (left) offers a token of appreciation to Captain Ronan Poinson (centre) and First Officer Stephen Neumann upon the occasion of American Eagle's final flight out of the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
Niche Marketing Manager of the BVI Tourist Board, Lynette L. Harrigan (left) offers a token of appreciation to Captain Ronan Poinson (centre) and First Officer Stephen Neumann upon the occasion of American Eagle's final flight out of the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
Crew members and staff of American Eagle pose for a photo opportunity. Photo: VINO
Crew members and staff of American Eagle pose for a photo opportunity. Photo: VINO
Passengers board the American Eagle aeroplane for it's final flight out of the Virgin Islands last evening March 31, 2013. Photo: VINO
Passengers board the American Eagle aeroplane for it's final flight out of the Virgin Islands last evening March 31, 2013. Photo: VINO
BEEF ISLAND, VI – American Eagle staged its last flight out of the Virgin Islands last evening, March 31, 2013 after servicing the Territory for more than twenty five years.

Captain Ronan Poinson and First Officer Stephen Neumann manned the last flight out with a two-member crew. There were 66 passengers on the last flight in.

Captain Poinson, a self-described surfer and 13-year veteran pilot, said he came often to visit the Territory and each time he came, the people were very nice. “The people at the hotels, the taxi drivers… just the ambience when I came here during my days off, so I’m kind of sad that we’re leaving,” he said.

The flight arrived a little later than expected but eventually made the trip to the Territory around 9 P.M. before departing an hour later.

“Me and the co-pilot… we insisted to get an airplane to come here to do it one last time,” said Captain Poinson after expressing fears that there may have been no flight owing to what he termed a shortage of airplanes.

According to the Captain, some airplanes were taken back to the United States, reducing a fleet of 30 airplanes to 4. One of the planes also got stuck in Martinique earlier that morning as well.

He added, “I brought many people that love sailing here… it’s one of the places where you can be on a boat and you can go from one island to another one.” He felt the Territory was a big destination for people that love sailing with the tradewinds being very good most of the year.

Both the Captain and First Officer expressed sadness at the last flight for American Eagle while several workers at the local American Eagle office were seen crying. The flight was also given a water salute by two fire tenders before it departed.

Marketing Manager of the BVI Tourist Board, Ms Lynette Harrigan, agreed that it was a sad occasion as the airline parted company with the Territory. “It is sad to see them fly out of here today,” she said, “you could see the emotion coming from not only the staff, but also the pilot, the flight attendants, everybody crying and hugging each other.”

Harrigan suggested that this was not the end, however, and stated that the Virgin Islands was one of the airline’s most profitable destinations and expressed hope that they would continue to work with the Territory with a promise of better things to come.

She was proud that Seaborne Airlines had ‘stepped up to the plate’ and stated that this would now mean that American Eagle’s departure does not leave a void. “With Seaborne coming in, they are going to even provide more seats than American Eagle did so I think we’re in good hands,” Harrigan said.

She disclosed that Cape Air has also added extra flights while Seaborne would be adding extra flights to places such as Virgin Gorda while its Saab will also be taking up some of the flights into Virgin Gorda as well.

Harrigan did not feel that the marketing efforts of the Tourist Board needed to be changed with the departure of American Eagle as she felt that the relationship with Seaborne Airlines and Cape Air was practically the same relationship shared with American Eagle.

She felt that numbers would increase for persons flying the route between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands given the hard work that the Tourist Board had been doing with the airlines in place.

Harrigan disclosed that the reason for the airline’s pull out was as a result of a lease being up for its airplane and nothing to do with the destination or number of passengers coming to and from the destination.

Kerlene Bideau, one of the staff members that worked with American Eagle, said this flight meant the beginning of a new chapter for her. “After several years of American Eagle… it’s like a great loss for all of us here, we’ll just miss that airline.”

Bideau said she was now looking forward to working for Seaborne Airlines to provide the same level of service that she did with American Eagle for the past thirteen years.

23 Responses to “American Eagle says final goodbye to the VI”

  • . (01/04/2013, 09:23) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    The eagle has landed else where..We know what we had but we dont know what we're getting
  • Virgin Son (01/04/2013, 09:26) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    where was the minsiter?
    • foxy (01/04/2013, 11:58) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      At a spanish bar by yapee
      • DEAD MAN WALKING (01/04/2013, 14:49) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
        naaaa not this time he right here on speedy's going to VG i sitting across from he
    • dissappointed (01/04/2013, 11:59) Like (12) Dislike (6) Reply
      It is very sad to see this legacy came to an end and the Premier of this country and responsible for Tourism not being present. This shows the kind of non support this Gov. administration is focusing on Tourism. Many has been offered to the Premier to improve tourism in this country but all he does is smile with no clue what so ever on what to do. Shame, shame, shame!
      • .... (02/04/2013, 08:43) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
        If your woman (or man) is going leave you, would you go see them off...??
  • concern (01/04/2013, 09:51) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    It is so sad for the entire Caribbean but let's hope for the best with several new airlines coming on board. Let's not give up hope. God is in control not man
  • Traveler (01/04/2013, 10:17) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    When will we get flights to St. Croix? It is much easier to travel to the United States 4-5 hours away than it is to fly to another Virgin Islands which is only a half hour away. A flight to St. Croix will continue to foster and boost V.I. relations. Remember we have Horse racing, Music Fest and Festival coming up. Let's do dis ting!
  • Realist (01/04/2013, 10:34) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
    People, this is not good for the BVI. We are glad that Seaborne Airlines will be trying to fill the void going forward but no matter how people try to spin this, this is a great loss!!
    • x ray (01/04/2013, 17:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      me sorry to tell u guys the reality of the matter the sector is soft and people got no money
      • stuppps (02/04/2013, 03:09) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
        This will have a great impact on our economy NDP is dead they kill everything
  • shelia (01/04/2013, 14:48) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    This pull out by AA is deep my friend,
  • Trust Me (01/04/2013, 16:26) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Have no fear. We will be ok. In fact we will be more than ok. Life goes on.
  • wise-up (01/04/2013, 16:39) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    The millions and millions of dollars the BVI Government(s) injected in to American Eagle could have gone into developing a Virgin Islands Airline; there is nothing like your own-thing; you think we would have learned from the American Eagle mistake, no-we now back in the hands of sea bourn airline- what a set of idiots leading us; I submit when sea bourn get their share they will leave the BVI as well; we have a family here with ample experience in the airline business; we also have a large number of local pilots so why cant our Government invest and develop our own carrier.(amercial eagle gone to fly between Miami and Bahamas)..talk that !!!!!
  • Thirsty (01/04/2013, 16:52) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I sure hope that wasn't fresh water being sprayed on the last flight out. :(
  • ... (01/04/2013, 17:59) Like (6) Dislike (6) Reply
    66 passengers huh? I thought they said nobody travels through our Airport. Goodbye American Eagle, hello American Airline. Let's get this runway started...
  • concern (01/04/2013, 18:09) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    hope American Eagle workers know their faith
  • Titi577 (02/04/2013, 06:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Typical of the Airlines in Puerto Rico they only survive for for approximately 10 years with exception of Caribear that last much longer til it was bough by Easter Airline. I flew for PrinAir for almost 10 year I was #8 in the seniority list.
  • wise-up (02/04/2013, 09:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Prin Air; dam-how old are you 96 !!!!!!!! i flew on prin air when i was a child i am now 50 yrs
  • prinairsju (02/04/2013, 13:07) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    To see an operation dissolved and gone is always sad, specially for those making the operation move, no doubt whatsoever. One intriguing factor is why no airline is able to endure more than a few years in Puerto Rico even when operating at a hefty profit. To me, one reason could easily be that after exhausting the ten years of tax free on profits granted by the ELA of P.R. operators say let's turn off the lights and go elsewhere where pastures are greener. The foregoing represents my own personal opinion, and a respectful salute to all members of American Eagle San Juan Chapter .
    Pablo R. Bassabe (Ex Prinair Captain, # 15 in seniority list) had the privilege to live 25 years in that lovely island.
  • TICKY (05/04/2013, 19:02) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    ANOTHER PAGE OF AVIATION HISTORY IN THE CARIBBEAN COME TO A CLOSE.NOTHER CARIBBEAN AIRLINA DISAPPEARS. OH, WELL, ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END. GOD BLESS AND GOOD FORTUNE TO THE PILOTS AND EMPLOYEES THAT AFTER 25 YEARS , ALL THEY HAVEGOOD IS MEMORES.
    GOOD NIGHT,
    CAPT. TICKY HERNANDEZ
    SAN JUAN ,P.R.


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