No partnership with VI Gov't; VI Airlink petition a delay tactic- BVI Airways
BVI Airways, Inc has filed for an exemption to the US Department of Transportation for permission to conduct scheduled foreign air transportation of persons, property, and mail between the prescribed UK Caribbean gateway points via intermediate points, to points in the United States and beyond.
The two carriers are petitioning the application with claims that they were not provided with a copy of the BVI Airways application although the proposed service would affect their operations. They also cited the local Govenment's plug of $7M into BVI Airway is likely a conflict of interest.
Who are the players in BVI Airways?
It is in this petition that answers what many persons residing in the Virgin Islands (UK) have been seeking for some time now - Who are the players in BVI Airways?
According to VI Airlink's petition, a document in our newsroom's possession, BVI Airways did not comply with the requirements of the rules. They alleged that when indicating the ownership and management of the applicant they established that their (BVI Airways) owners were Pauline E. Jones with 31.0% ownerships, Bradley David Goggin with 20.0% ownership both being UK/BVI Residents while US citizen Colchester Aviation, LLC had the remaining 49.0% ownership.
What's wrong with the ownership picture in the eyes of VI Airlink? "An applicant for permanent residence must reside in the Virgin Islands consecutively for a period of 20 years before application can be considered. An applicant can only be absent from the territory for 90 days in any calender year except when persuing further education or as a result of illness. Applicant must state in his/her application intentions for residing permanently in the territory and dependants who are endorsed on their parents' certificate should apply for their own certificates six months before their eighteenth birthday, if they wish to continue residing, permanently."
VI Airline also sought to prove that the owners of BVI Airways that account for 49% shares is also a US citizen as cited in the State Department of the State of Florida and their key executives are executive officers and Directors Mr Jerry D. Willoughby and Mr Scott A. Weisman and General Counsel Mr Micheal Long.
However, in reply to the objection made by VI Airlink, a document also in our newsroom's possession, BVI Airways expressed that VI Airlink was not prejudiced in anyway by not being served a copy of the BVI Airways' application. "However, the very regulation cited by the objector indicates that (potentially) competiting foreign air carriers are in fact not required to be served. Regardless, the objectors appear to have been made aware of the BVI Airways application, which is in a public docket and they do not appear to have been prejudiced in any way," cited BVI Airways through its legal authority.
No Partnership/ VI Airlink gets Gov't Subsidy
As it relates to the claim of governments financial injection to BVI Airways the company defended by stating, "Objector's (VI Airlink) only other argument appears to be an inference that BVI Airlines somehow has misrepresented it's relationship with its homeland government, providing links to a number of press articles going back to 2014. However, nothing in those press articles is inconsistent with the BVI Airways' representations. Which objectors quote, regarding any relationshio with the government of this tiny isolated caribbean Island."
The BVI Airways contended that there is no partnership in any legal sense with the government of the VI. "It is incredible that VI Airlink, like applicant herein a carrier of the BVI, which itself is subsidised by the government of the BVI as part of the government's efforts to develop aviation services to this isolated small island, should choose to raise this argument before the US Department of Transportation. A foreign air carrier proceeding is hardly the place to resolve the "...big conflict of interest between the other local carriers in the BVI (ie: BVI Carrier) and the (ir) government."
BVI Airways also mentioned that VI Airlink has been licensed for many years for US charters and most recently scheduled service with small aircraft but thus far never operated any services to the US mainlands.
The company is appealing to the US Department of Transportation to reject VI Airlink's objection labeling it as a delay tactic.
Political gains/VI Airlink claims baseless
In an open letter to the people of the Virgin Islands (UK), Chief Executive Officer of BVI Airways Jerry D. Willoughby said they are highly disappointed that the collective investments of time and capital to make non-stop service to Miami, Florida a reality has been recklessly placed at risk for political gains and greed.
BVI Airways labelled VI Airlink’s petition as baseless, anti-competitive and fraudulent and will delay their launch and increase the pre-operating financial losses significantly.
"The false claims made on the floor of the House of Assembly accusing BVI Airways of unpaid obligations, insider trading and unscrupulous business practices are patently false, lack any legal basis, and are an affront to our hard-working employees and the many Virgin Islanders in both the public and private sectors who have toiled long and hard to bring this venture to reality. Moreover, VI Airlink’s baseless, anti-competitive and fraudulent objections to our service to Miami will delay the launch and increase the pre-operating financial losses significantly," Mr Willoughby stated in a press release recently.
BVI Airways also claimed that as it stands now, their legal teams locally and the United States are reviewing the viability of claims to obtain recompense from the offending parties.