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No need to immediately expand airport- Cromwell Smith

- VI Airlink now authorised to fly in and out of US ports
The extension to the Terrance B. Lettsome Airport will enable commercial jets to fly nonstop directly to and from the eastern seaboard of the United States. Photo: Reuben Stoby/VINO
The Embraer 170 is built to carry some 70 passengers. Photo: Wikipedia
The Embraer 170 is built to carry some 70 passengers. Photo: Wikipedia
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Now that local carrier VI Airlink is authorised to fly in and out of US ports, Cromwell Smith believes that it is an opportune time for Government to step in to ensure the survival of the local enterprise and does not necessarily have to immediately expand the airport once VI Airlink is able to acquire the Embraer 170.

“The Brazilians have manufactured an airplane, the Embraer 170 (E-170) that could carry around 75, 78 passengers from Miami to the BVI with the airport that we have exactly where it is. So we don’t need to expand the airport immediately in order to have direct flights to the mainland,” commented Mr. Smith during the radio talk show Umoja on January 19, 2012.

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. D. Orlando Smith in his budget address on January 17, 2012 in the House of Assembly said air lift is a concern to the Territory and that Government has already made a decision on the initial design of an extension to the Terrance B. Lettsome Airport, which will enable commercial jets to fly nonstop directly to and from the eastern seaboard of the United States, and for corporate class aircraft such as the Gulfstream V to fly directly to Western Europe.

But according to Mr. Cromwell Smith, the local carrier VI Airlink would facilitate airlift to and from US ports once it is able to acquire the E-170 aircraft and given the assistance that American Eagles gets. “So we are right now in a position to have at least two planes and I saw the pictures of the planes and I saw the specifications and everything and these are some beautiful looking planes...Nothing would give me more pride than to see Neville (Braithwaite) coming down, out of the cockpit of one of these planes and the tourists getting off at the airport during the inaugural flight....I really looking forward to that and it’s not going to take a lot. The same concessions and incentives and assistance that the governments, past and present, have given to American Eagle, all the brothers want is that same assistance,” Mr. Smith added.

According to the Wikipedia Encyclopaedia, The Embraer E-Jets are a series of narrow-body, twin-engine, medium-range, jet airliners produced by Embraer, a Brazilian aerospace conglomerate that produces commercial, military, and corporate aircraft. Announced at the Paris Air Show in 1999, and entering production in 2002, the aircraft series has been a success. As of June 30, 2011, there is a backlog of 261 firm orders for the E-Jets and 658options. The manufacturer reported that 742 units had been delivered by June 30, 2011, and predicted that by the end of 2016, more than 1,100 units would be delivered.

Meanwhile, On December 20, 2011, VI Airlink signed an agreement with US air regulator, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to have its 13-passenger Beechcraft King Air 100 aircraft do charter flights to the US. The agreement is seen as a breakthrough for VI Airlink, who has long been pushing to receive permission to fly to US ports.

“This is a great development and of course it makes it even more possible and more probable than ever to airlift Chinese tourists from Jamaica to the BVI, from Santo Domingo to the BVI, so it opens up a whole new opportunity for our local businessmen, the VI Airlink, our company that is in our national security interest, and we have all these opportunities to increase our market share of Tourism. So this is something that I think the Government need to hop on right away, get them planes from South America, get them brothers hooked up with all them connections...” Mr. Smith added.

7 Responses to “No need to immediately expand airport- Cromwell Smith ”

  • what (23/01/2012, 09:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The extention of the runway was a promise to the ppl years ago and still, now as it's needed more than ever hear this. This isn't to boycott VI Airlift's business it's to upgrade the territories air transport need as getting to the BVI is generally hard coming from lots of destinations like Europe and Canada as well. This man is a growth choker only sees as far he nose, yes!(bout no KFC Scato's chicken better, rubbish!!!) cause its no way a bigger airport won't be better for the country, the contruction alone of it will create more jobs not to mention if the approval lengthenin' allows for more airlines to come in an operate; go ahead widdit chief!!!
    • AirDrop (23/01/2012, 09:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I agree, it shouldn't limit them to buying an Embraer 170... they should be looking for something bigger than that! Why some ppl have to be small minded? Start the expansion quickly, thats what they should have done years ago to accommodate those AT72s who is by the way not even legal to land because the strip is still short.
    • Funny (23/01/2012, 11:01) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      LOL The KFC comment put a good smile pon me face!!!!!!!!
  • Crank Shaft (23/01/2012, 11:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I agree with Cromwell on this!!!! It doesn't happen often, but I AGREE WITH HIM!!
  • North Sound (23/01/2012, 14:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    but you know the NDP will not listen..they put the prject under Doc Pic for a reason...
  • Right Sed Fred (24/01/2012, 12:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    But who gwon pay for airport expansion? Doc Smith makin a joke when he say airport fees could cover cost. Gwon cost $100 million to make a bigger airrport.
  • Not2Sure (27/01/2012, 13:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I agree with Cromwell and the Doc. It only makes sense to build a bigger airport if someone is planning to fly in bigger planes. Right now, we can't even fill the planes that fly to Puerto Rico, so no way in hell is American going to start bringing in the big jets from Miami to Tortola even if we do spend $100M building a longer runway. And by the way, where are we going to find $100M from? We're broke!

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