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If you do nothing else for BVI, bring direct flights - Morley to Branson

Chairwoman of the Miss World Organisation Julia E. Morley, right, has challenged British billionaire and Virgin Islands’ Belonger Sir Richard C.N. Branson, left, to bring direct flights to the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/
Ms Julia E. Morley was speaking at the Miss World Charity Dinner and Philanthropic Award Ceremony at The Moorings, Tortola, last evening, February 25, 2018 when she called on Sir Richard C.N. Branson to bring direct flights to the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
Ms Julia E. Morley was speaking at the Miss World Charity Dinner and Philanthropic Award Ceremony at The Moorings, Tortola, last evening, February 25, 2018 when she called on Sir Richard C.N. Branson to bring direct flights to the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO
Opposition Leader Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), left, had long commented that a cow was likely to fly over the moon before BVI Airways got going. Photo: VINO/
Opposition Leader Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), left, had long commented that a cow was likely to fly over the moon before BVI Airways got going. Photo: VINO/
WICKHAM’S CAY II, Tortola, VI- There was loud applause and cheers of agreement when Chairwoman of the Miss World Organisation Julia E. Morley challenged British billionaire and Virgin Islands’ Belonger Sir Richard C.N. Branson to bring direct flights to the Virgin Islands.

Speaking at the Miss World Charity Dinner and Philanthropic Award Ceremony at The Moorings last evening, February 25, 2018, Ms Morley, noted that for the Virgin Islands to boost its tourism potential it must have direct flights from Europe and North America.

“What’s missing is direct flights to the BVI…you need to have direct flights into the BVI,” Morley stated.

The British businesswoman, charity worker and former model then challenged Mr Branson, who owns two private islands in the Virgin Islands, to help make direct flights to the VI a reality by using his airline, Virgin Atlantic.

Where is Virgin Atlantic?

“I truly believe you have got one of the most famous people on Necker Island. Where is Virgin [Atlantic]? Where is it? bring it on,” Ms Morley said to loud applause.

“That is what is needed. You all got to tell the truth…So Mr Branson please bring your Virgin airline here first. If you do nothing else, that is the best thing you can do for the BVI,” Ms Morley added, and again was met with loud cheers and applause.

It should be noted here that Mr Branson, who was not at the function last evening, had announced in July 2017 that he was selling 31% of Virgin Atlantic, relinquishing his controlling interest in the airline he founded in 1984.

Branson was expected to net £220m from the deal to sell the 31% stake to Air France-KLM and remain as chairman of the airline. He retained a 20% interest, leaving the US giant Delta as the largest shareholder in Virgin Atlantic with 49%, according to The Guardian, a UK newspaper.

Meanwhile, Ms Morley is part of the delegation on a historic visit to the Virgin Islands.

The Miss World Organisation team includes reigning 2017 Miss World Manushi Chhillar of India, 2016 Miss World Stephanie Del Valle of Puerto Rico, five continental queens, and other senior management of the Miss World Organisation.

The visit is part of the organisation’s ‘Beauty With A Purpose’ tour and is aimed at raising funds for the rebuilding of the Eslyn Henley Richiez Learning Center, and to add support to the Territory’s post Irma recovery by using the prestigious Miss World brand to promote the VI’s tourism product.

The delegation arrived in the Territory on February 25, 2018 and will depart on March 1, 2018.

VI needs direct flights but…

Meanwhile, while no one disputes that direct flights to the Virgin Islands from North America and even Europe are needed, many were opposed to the way the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government was trying to make it happen.

One of the main criticisms was, apart from its usual secrecy, the giving of over $7M dollars to a defunct airline, BVI Airways, to provide the service, even after the airline had previously pulled out of the BVI and had owed monies to the BVI Airports Authority.

There have been no direct flights to date and it is unclear whether the service will ever materialise since the sweetheart relationship between BVI Airways and the NDP Government has since gone sour.

Opposition Leader Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) had long commented that a cow was likely to fly over the moon before BVI Airways got going.

“Thus far, $7.2 million dollars has being paid outside the scheduled of payments in the contract for a plane to fly, but it seems as if a cow may quicker fly over the moon before this service starts but the $7.2 million dollars has already being paid with reports that alleged that significantly more monies from government will be needed,” Hon Fahie said on July 5, 2017.

21 Responses to “If you do nothing else for BVI, bring direct flights - Morley to Branson”

  • just asking... (26/02/2018, 10:50) Like (6) Dislike (7) Reply
    hold up so Branson is the new premier? SMH
  • rebuild (26/02/2018, 10:59) Like (10) Dislike (7) Reply
    she's absolutely right, direct flights a must to rebuild
    • pat (26/02/2018, 11:56) Like (18) Dislike (14) Reply
      I highly doubt Ms Morley understands the entire issue from plane approach, economics, size of airport regardless of new runway, implications of more big building and stress on infrastructure and foreign labour and housing etc. Frankly, I would take someone other than a beauty queen promoter more seriously. She is a business woman not a city planner, sociologist, government expert, environmentalist/ activist with a well-rounded understanding of what she is talking about and its implications. She just wants it easier for her "brand".
  • it didnt have to (26/02/2018, 11:08) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    take Ms Morley to say this to Sir Branson he knows it full well.So many of us can do so much we want association but not commitment/submission.Many locals residents foreigners and more can make a significant contribution to the economic upliftment of the BVI but stay dormant or only invest if it benefit them and them alone. Remember when you give you recieve more abuntantly.Spruce up the economy and make BVI better and stronger
  • Music (26/02/2018, 12:05) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    A small pont but, whilst Sir Richard has started up several Virgin airlines around the world under different Virgin names, Virgin Atlantic flies Boeing 747s which are never going to be able to land at Beef Island.
  • miles (26/02/2018, 12:22) Like (6) Dislike (11) Reply
    It is time to give Virginislanders a chance to decide what is best for the islands. Everyone want to come here and decide for us. That is why we are going downhill. People who do not have a say in what is best for their countries come here and want to be the decision makers. The NDP is accepting because they have no plan.
    • shut up! (28/02/2018, 21:47) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      You guys are going down hill because no one wants to see a change. ALL bvi people do is sit down and watch things happen then complain after.

  • Gave up did ya? (26/02/2018, 12:37) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    Well, well, well. Now we are reduced to begging Sir Richard to bring direct flights here. gave up on the government and all the false promises finally? About time!..... I said it over and over at the beginning but nobody listened about the multi million dollar give away and now we are reduced to begging for it! We can have those flights but giving away money is not the way to do it. The proper way is to approach an existing airline and show them the business plan and marketing numbers and work with them to do this.
  • Hmmmm (26/02/2018, 12:47) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    Mr Branson is a very serious business man.. He is going to do all the studies. He has to be a winner. If he is not doing it simply means its not a winning or profitable venture...
  • wize up (26/02/2018, 13:32) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
    some of the people conducting business in this place are simply here for the profit; simply give our treasury a few crumbs from their table and some of we continue to settle for that
  • ausar (26/02/2018, 14:12) Like (17) Dislike (2) Reply
    Interestingly others too have realized that a billionaire living in the territory that owns an airline should have produced greater results with regards to passenger arrivals than mere photo-ops, handshakes, scripted pronouncements, and appearances with exotic animals!
  • Windy (26/02/2018, 14:42) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
    Give me 7 million dollars and I promise you I'll bring direct flights
  • chad (26/02/2018, 15:33) Like (8) Dislike (7) Reply
    Bvi people have an ungrateful mentality. The man dont owe allya a damn thing. Appreciate what he does. Had he been broke some of yall would have been too big with yall turn up nose to even send a hello his way. So just shut it, tell allya government get back the 7 mil and stop screwing up the damn taxpayer's money.
    • @wow (26/02/2018, 18:35) Like (7) Dislike (8) Reply

      Go @#$%&....Branson dont do a dam thing

    • island man (26/02/2018, 19:23) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
      @ wow, thanks! ungratefulness is definitely a diseases here. look and see the dislike you will get for the truth.
      Why the Government wont get BVI airways up and running, they seems to sweep that under the table and look into someone else plate.
      wicked minds!!!
      Richard Branson don't have owe us anything. Miss world should have address the government instead.
  • E. Leonard (26/02/2018, 22:47) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    Attracting and sustaining non-stop/direct flights into the VI is a some what simple process. Simply, can airlines consistently make a profit without government subsidies? Airline operations is a service business driven by airline economics. Like putting heads in beds at hotels or putting passengers on ferries,trains and buses, airlines have to put paying passengers in seats to be profitable and stay airborne.

    Every time an airline/aircraft lifts off a fix cost is incurred; it must have either paying passengers or cargo to cover the fix cost, breaking even. Airlines have to operate above the break even load factor (BLF) to stay in business/airborne.

    Passenger load factor (PLF), how full an aircraft is, is a critical metric in the airline business. It is the core metric that determines if an airline holds or folds. It is the ratio of revenue passenger mile to available seat mile. The PLF for each airline is different; there is no one size fits all. The bottom line is that an airline must operate above the BLF to stay airborne.

    How long the runway is or how modern the terminal is not what keeps airlines airborne; it is paying customers or cargo. No doubt, Sir Richard Branson or any other investor(s) will look closely at PLF before dumping money into a point to point airline route/venture.
    • Quiet Storm (27/02/2018, 07:50) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      @E. Leonard, sound like you know a ting or 2 about aviation management, making sense over nonsense. Airline ops is a service business; like any other business its focus is making a profit. They are not charity organizations. The chairperson of Ms. World should ease out of local politics and focus on making the pageant better; an understanding of local politics and a little diplomacy would serve her well. She clearly is not in tune with what makes airlines fly. Direct flights into small destinations with small population is always a challenge. More often than not connecting flights are the norm. The same issue that hampers direct flights is also hampering ferry operations. In regards to ferry operations, there are too many seats for too few passengers. Both airlift and ferry operations need a serious review.
      • pete (27/02/2018, 12:39) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        there is more potential with ferries than with airlines. The population travels frequently between STT and passengers on flights to STT (which are cheaper by far) use the ferries for their final destination. It would make sense NOT to cut off passengers with a schedule that doesn't match the incoming airlines-- but with later runs, etc. As it stands now, the ferries run 3:00-4:30 and airlines come in between 2:30 to 5:00. It is a race to Red Hook every time if the ferry is missed. Fix the ferry schedule to fix incoming flights and watch more passengers get accommodated.
    • @ E. Leonard. (01/03/2018, 14:59) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Looks like you and I are the only ones with any background in airline economics. I said that loud and clear when this entire fiasco started that giving any money to the BV air was a massive mistake. I took the time to follow the money and registration trail and post it here, I took the time to follow the FAA applications to make the flights and also reported it here,. Nothing I found made any sense yet they plowed ahead and gave away the cash ALL IN ONE SHOT!... that was the biggest fatal mistake. If you do a proper business plan it does not take much to see it can be done with the right sized aircraft AND a few flights a week Daily flights do not make financial sense as the load factor is just not there.

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