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BVI Airways lays off staff; Casts blame on NDP Gov’t

- said VI Gov’t failed to make improvements to airport; Announcements to extend airport made it difficult to ‘raise private funding’
BVI Airways announced today, July 18, 2017 that it is immediately laying off its entire crew of pilots and flight attendants until their many issues, including that of funding, have been resolved. Photo: VINO/File
In response to the bombshell announcement by BVI Airways, Leader of the Opposition Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) lamented that questions have been asked over and over in the House of Assembly about the BVI Airways deal but usually no answers but always insults were given. Photo: VINO/File
In response to the bombshell announcement by BVI Airways, Leader of the Opposition Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) lamented that questions have been asked over and over in the House of Assembly about the BVI Airways deal but usually no answers but always insults were given. Photo: VINO/File
There has been no response from the National Democratic Party Government of Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL) on the recent disclosures by BVI Airways. Photo: VINO/File
There has been no response from the National Democratic Party Government of Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL) on the recent disclosures by BVI Airways. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The war is waging publicly between the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government of Premier, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) and BVI Airways; a defunct airline that Government provided $7.2M of tax payers money in exchange for direct flights to the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island from Miami International Airport in the United States of America.

It was on July 4, 2017, in a statement, that Premier Smith talked tough and called on BVI Airways to start the Miami-Beef Island flights without any further delay as his regime “has fully discharged its responsibility to BVI Airways by providing $7 million as a subsidy in keeping with the terms of the agreement."

Now comes a bombshell from BVI Airways that it is immediately laying off its entire crew of pilots and flight attendants and has cast blame on the same Government that bailed them out and went as far as violating the agreement, after the money was to be paid out over three years, but the full amount was advanced within six months.

In a press release to selected media house today, July 18, 2017, BVI Airways said it “regretfully announced that it is immediately laying off its entire flight crew (pilots and flight attendants) as a result of ongoing delays. Hopefully this will be a very short-term situation as we continue to work through remaining issues with the Government and will be able to commence flights shortly.”

We have the planes but…

BVI Airways then attempted to place the blame heavily on the NDP Government for its failure to begin direct flights. Some four announced flight dates have already been missed.

“We have the planes, the organisation and have secured all the difficult regulatory approvals. However, improvements to the airport required under our contract to meet basic commercially acceptable standards for processing passenger volume of this size, have not been completed. Passengers cannot be expected to wait in line for 2 hours to get through security and immigration; this would be disastrous.”

According to BVI Airways, the current system is “antiquated” and barely works for low density flights and that there was a clear understanding from the onset that this needed to be corrected and better training of personnel provided prior to its launch of service.

“BVI Airways conceived and developed a business plan to solve the BVI’s air access problem. Building an airline is a complex process. There are significant regulatory processes involved beginning with our UK based regulator followed by the US DOT, FAA and DHS. There are also significant costs involved such as hiring and training flight crew, acquiring aircraft, maintenance personnel, parts, facilities, ground handling, station personnel, ticketing and reservations to name just a few, and in our case, in multiple locations (BVI and US). This is one of a series of challenges BVI Airways has faced.”

Money issues

This news site had reported on July 5, 2017 that one of the problems affecting BVI Airways from taking off, despite it finally getting the necessary regulatory approvals was that it needed more money and in fact, approached Government for it but was denied, according to a senior National Democratic Party source.

According to the BVI Airways press release today, the regulatory process also took much longer than all parties expected and has put a significant strain on the company's finances.

“Most people don't realise that we needed a full organisation, with full complement of trained pilots, flight attendants, backup crews and planes in order to complete the application process. We have almost 40 people on the payroll. This is one of the reasons the barriers of entry are so great with an airline and many times require subsidies of some type. The pre-operating carry costs alone have cost us millions of dollars over the past year and have depleted most of our cash reserves. The irony is, now that we are ready to start flying, we need to raise more money in order to do so.”

Taking another shot at Government, BVI Airways said the Government’s ill-timed announcement of the contract award to lengthen the runway at Beef Island at an estimated cost of $155 million, made it much more difficult for BVI Airways to raise private funding.

“The extended runway, and the promise of luring large US based airline carriers, would obviously pose a serious threat to BVI Airways business model and undermine our collective investment. This has been a material adverse development to overcome.”

The controversial airline said it has been in discussions with the Government for months and is doing its best to raise the additional funds required and will start flying once the necessary improvements are completed and the additional funds are secured.

‘This is serious’- Leader of the Opposition

While there has been no response from the National Democratic Party Government, who it seems will be left holding the bag since they will not get back a dime if BVI Airways never flies, Leader of the Opposition Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) exclaimed that the latest announcement by BVI Airways was “serious” since millions of dollars seem set to go down the drain.

“This is serious! This is no joke! Over $13 million dollars and what will we have to show -- no airport extension -- no direct flights -- no transparency-- no accountability but the continuous hemorrhaging of the already scarce Territory's finances! How much are the people prepared to suffer?” Hon Fahie stated in a press release.

Hon Fahie lamented that questions have been asked over and over in the House of Assembly about the contract in question, but usually no answers but always insults were given.

“If we are going to be asked to fix this problem, we must be given the truth -- the whole truth and nothing but the truth!! The song writer was before his time -- Millions and millions and millions and more -- (you know the song!).

“This is an ongoing pattern of reckless and irresponsible financial management that can only be directed to one office. This entire situation will be examined further,” Hon Fahie concluded.

53 Responses to “BVI Airways lays off staff; Casts blame on NDP Gov’t”

  • wise up (18/07/2017, 14:08) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just waiting to see the comments !!!
  • this will soon be on american greed (18/07/2017, 14:14) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
    I wonder why this airline don't want to go to the bank to get a lone? Is it because of chapter 11???
    • Online Now (19/07/2017, 08:50) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      Who would loan them money when the Government is saying that they will introduce direct competition by increasing the runway length. They should have either invested in an airline able to use the existing runway or lengthened the runway allowing large jets. Not both. Won't work.
  • aaaay ay ooooh oh! (18/07/2017, 14:24) Like (25) Dislike (0) Reply
    Somebody con de conner man. A conner man con de conner man......
    • .................... (18/07/2017, 14:35) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
      De conner man cryyyyyyyaaaaaaaaiiiiiinnnnnn
      • egg face (18/07/2017, 20:59) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        Great headline.
        Remembering when I was a child listening to Officers.
        Plan 'A' never works. Plan 'B' is the real plan.
        Get to Plan 'C' or 'D'?
        You've lost NDP get out of office call the election now
  • just asking... (18/07/2017, 14:27) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Look melee who going to jail?
  • scam (18/07/2017, 14:33) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why was the airline operating between Haiti and Cuba if not to cover the costs? Are they saying our $7mil subsidized Haitian shopping trips? Surely the situation regarding airport resources, runway, approval time timetable were known factors.
  • King Kunta (18/07/2017, 15:02) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply

    What a bunch of educated fools we have as "leaders". I wonder how many of us predicted this day was coming. Anything that is rushed into without proper planning is doomed to failure - will we ever learn?

    Why do we keep sending lightweight negotiators to heavyweight fights, and when they get knocked out, we act shocked.

    Dr Smith is talking tough and doesnt have a leg to stand on, meanwhile looks like a damn fool having promised time and time again that flights will start soon. Now the company that has shafted the BVI once before, has shafted us royally once again to the tune of 7 MILLION dollars. They have flown as many flights to Miami as the government has delivered "on budget" projects (i.e. NONE). For all of his promises, what did Doc get? thrown under the bus driven over....reverse and REPEAT!

    I am having a hard time feeling sorry for the NDP as they continue time and time and time again to do things worthy of being in DUMB and DUMBER. We got hoodwinked and bamboozled out of 7.2 million by a previously bankrupt company, but we feel confident to negotiate with the Chinese for 153 million? Lord help us! We are doomed with these imbeciles. Whereas I do not feel an ounce of sympathy for the hardheaded, tone deaf, increasingly incompetent NDP, i feel nothing but sorrow and shame for my BVI......

    .

  • ................ (18/07/2017, 15:16) Like (15) Dislike (4) Reply
    White callar crime that the esteem spoke about
  • NDP supporter (18/07/2017, 16:01) Like (24) Dislike (5) Reply
    This is what you call a Major Blunder. We should have invested in our own (VI Airlink).
    • VIA (18/07/2017, 16:59) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
      We should have and watch the progress.. But the BVI does not want to invest in their own... ASHAME!
    • Hmmm (18/07/2017, 22:13) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
      The bible says what go round come round. All over BVI bvislanders are being oppressed hindered sidelined in favour of others and their pompous ways. This is just the same thing happening on a much grander scale.
  • ghmmm (18/07/2017, 16:10) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    thank god I didn't ask for a job for my wife
  • island man (18/07/2017, 16:44) Like (30) Dislike (2) Reply
    Now BVIslanders, the name BVI Airways belongs to a business of intended business. Can you please tell me who are the real owners of BVI Airways? I need you tp post pictures of the following for public viewing.
    Picture of the CEO, Chairman and all other Stake-Holders. Lets be fear.
    I know the BVI will be surprise to know who are involved, some of our own people are calling the shots, believe me my dear people...
    Corruption to the highest level with out leaders.
    I say to call British Scotland Yard and now... The Premier knows what is going on and I know he knows;
  • belonger (18/07/2017, 17:39) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
    This is a ploy to Force government to give out more Tax Dollars, Dr. Smith not another red centof our money and will sue them for $7m back plus legal cost. Set of wicked men.
    • usa (18/07/2017, 21:17) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      For an outsider such as myself, it's incomprehensible. What is up down there?
  • one eye (18/07/2017, 17:41) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Something smell fishy
  • No hope (18/07/2017, 17:55) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    you think a local business could have gotten away with this? NEVER!!! governor John Duncan when will you make an arrest?
  • in thing (18/07/2017, 18:06) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    BVI airways hasn't even began full operation as yet and they are already laying off staff ....Liat probably given Bvi airways advice!!
    • This is Serious.. (18/07/2017, 19:00) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      Our solution to all these problems are simple..
      ..Scotland Yard...Scotland Yard....Scotland Yard
  • See (18/07/2017, 18:08) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    this airline will never fly and the money is gone while local businesses are still owed millions by govt. I wonder how long the memory will be come election ?
    • SMH (18/07/2017, 23:02) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I hate to hear this vote out election revenge talk. Despite being voted out they would be receiving retirement money in addition to no punishment after doing so much wrong. So they still come out on top despite all the stupid talk bout "wait till next election".
  • i from here (18/07/2017, 18:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Liat probably given Bvi airways advice!!! Staff being layoff and full operations hasn't even taking effect yet....Wellsahhh
  • White Collar Crime at its Highest (18/07/2017, 18:47) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    This crazy and is a white collar crime at its highest. I want to hear the Government response or twist on this. I do agree it seems as scam to take the people of the Virgin Islands tax money which could have been spent elsewhere to develop our health infrastructure, education infrastructure and our roads and so much more where value could be seen immediately or in the long term.

    This white collar crime needs to be investigated. The contract should be available as it should be registered given the value of the contract. If not the Government needs to be accountable and tell the people how the money was spent. Furthermore, I do not know who advise the Government to invest in such a risky venture. Bad advice.
  • Lord o (18/07/2017, 18:52) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    95% of us knew it was a bad investment. Keep us wondering how can 11 intelligent people get so stupid...Something has to be in the contract stating that if the complete payment is not made within 6 months the contract is null and void. What Else could it be why they behaving this way...We need to see the contract..
    • Outlaw (18/07/2017, 22:54) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      I now wondering where are all those who hit the high road and march over the Bi-water deal
  • ???? (18/07/2017, 19:09) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Who is our lawyer buddy????
  • Failure after failure (18/07/2017, 19:18) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
    Cruise ship Peir, High School Wall, Airline investment. Bad generators purchases... Failure after failure. Only in Africa leaders do these kind of things and get away
    .
  • Ship out!!!! (18/07/2017, 19:29) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    If that DAMN NDP crew was not so deep in the greedy sauce this Country would not be so f.,?$d up.

  • Eagle Eye (18/07/2017, 19:50) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    If bvi airways can walk off with 7mil cash then why should the local bands be owed for festival.bands hold a meeting and boycot the festival village if yall ain't paid in full before performance on stage.
  • lmfaooo (18/07/2017, 20:36) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    I laugh.. wonder what lie premier Smith gonna come up with this time.. all along Andrew tell y all them begin for more money, ayo laugh.. he gonna sleep good tonight with the last laugh I mean we all knew it was coming to this.. why bail out a airline and practically start fresh when vi airlink or another already good airline could've done the job? By now we would've had direct flights to the UK.. WHAT A THING TO TELL THE KING buddy....
  • same old (18/07/2017, 20:44) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why they can and will get away with this it's because they know that the most will be done is to blog about it. They probably reading the blogs and having a laugh knowing what they got away with.
    • guess what (18/07/2017, 22:39) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ same old, of course they are reading the blogs. If they choose to laugh at our blogs, let them go right ahead. Who laugh last always laughs the best. They will get caught up soon enough.
  • voter (18/07/2017, 20:54) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Your NDP supporters must "own" the election results.
  • hummm (18/07/2017, 21:02) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    How do you repeal and replace the BVI government?
  • excuse me (18/07/2017, 21:13) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    If you want my opinion Dr. Smith - do it. Give them the extra millions
  • Edward (18/07/2017, 22:23) Like (2) Dislike (5) Reply
    Why not give the money to the ferry companies to update their fleet. Get faster, bigger ferry boats to the USVI.
  • Jacperlance (18/07/2017, 22:27) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dr. Smith should be made to pay back our money into the treasury. This is a shame. BVI Airways wanted more money and they were trying to see where they can find if to pay, but they were scared to go back into the coffers so this is the end results
  • Corruption (18/07/2017, 22:35) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Make the check payable to.....
  • Lock him up. (19/07/2017, 06:59) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lock up dr smith!!!
  • John (19/07/2017, 07:07) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    We are quite willing to extradite our own people to the US for trial. I hope we are also willing to have the US extradite these airline managers to the BVI for trial.
    • Outlaw (19/07/2017, 10:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @john, what crime have they commit. You chatting piss. Am agreement was entered into which the NDP failed to honor. They were blindsided with the agreement and I doubt Dr. Zzzzzzzz really knows what he signed. The people trick him big time.
  • SMH (19/07/2017, 08:40) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    the planes will fly when pigs do
  • LOL (19/07/2017, 10:52) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The other guy who was suing them over the Ports Project mussie having a good laugh now. He couldn't get his money, but now this set of cons have our money....The world really is round boy....
  • Weak hearts (19/07/2017, 12:29) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    We begging to lock them up. Then we will be begging to let them go them is locals.
  • l (22/07/2017, 23:43) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    this government Needs to enter a re-socialization program fast
  • Just Sayin (14/12/2017, 09:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    sounds like eastern airlines all over again


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