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Premier: Airport expansion will not happen like tomorrow!

- Discloses airlift alternatives for VI, negotiations underway with LIAT & other airlines for increased & direct flights
Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith said with the Terrence B. Lettsome airport expansion not one that will take place very soon, his Government has put plans in place to improve airlift into the VI in the interim. Photo: VINO
Janice Braithwaite-Edwards is now the Laison Officer and is responsible for dealing with several projects including the spearheading a committee to improve the Gun Greek area.
Janice Braithwaite-Edwards is now the Laison Officer and is responsible for dealing with several projects including the spearheading a committee to improve the Gun Greek area.
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Acknowledging that the expansion of the Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport will not happen anytime soon, Premier Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith has outlined his Government’s plans to increase effective airlift to the Territory with “positive” discussions being held with airlines for increased and direct flights to the Virgin Islands.

Speaking at a press conference held yesterday afternoon April 17, 2012 in the Premier’s Conference Room, Dr. Smith, who is also the Minister responsible for Tourism, stated that one of Government’s initiatives to ensure long term sustainability of the tourism industry was to maintain direct access for tourists to the Territory.

He noted that while Government is looking at the expansion of the Beef Island Airport they are “aware that will not happen like tomorrow so we have to put measures in place to make sure that our visitors arrive here in good time”.

While they are forging ahead with consultations locally, regionally and internationally to bring on stream commercial jets to fly directly to the USA, Asia and Europe, Premier Smith announced that his Government is also in discussions with LIAT to have more regular flights between the Virgin Islands and Puerto, as American Airlines has reduced their flights and LIAT has also been considering reducing theirs.

Talks are also being held with LIAT for better access to Antigua for connecting flights and also with the BVI Airports Authority (BVIAA) to open the airport earlier to accommodate those flights.

Premier Smith noted that while the discussions with the airlines are going well and very positive, the financial difficulty of LIAT which is being experienced by airlines generally is a factor that has to be considered.

Discussions are also being held with BVI Airways, according to the Premier, who disclosed that the company wants to start flights between the Territory and Miami and intends to do so within the next few months. He said currently they are negotiating with the regulatory authority to ensure everything is in place.

He said discussions are also being held with CAPE Air for direct flights to St. Thomas from Beef Island for those who do not wish to travel by ferry.

For those who may still prefer the ferry services, talks are being held with ferry operators for more timely ferries.

He said when tourists arrive in the afternoon in St. Thomas, they often have to overnight since there are no late ferries and Government is working with the ferry services to adjust their schedules to be able to better transport visitors.

“So these are all the options we are looking at to ensure at the moment we can have our visitors get here timelier, more comfortably while we continue to look at the expansion of the airport,” Premier Smith said.

Meanwhile, he also announced that a study has been commissioned by BVIAA with a company called CMI Aviation to do an aeronautical study which will determine what Government needs to do to meet all the requirements to have the Virgin Gorda Airport opened and functioning on a regular basis.

Gun Greek as tourist destination

He noted that while Gun Greek has already been opened as a port of entry, there will be a formal ceremony on May 18, 2012 and a Committee has been put together to look at the Gun Greek area as a tourist destination.

Hon. Smith said that his Government recognizes there is quite a lot of activities in North Sound and knows that once Gun Greek was developed “it can be made a destination and people in the area can benefit.”

He said meetings will also be held with persons of the community to get their input in the project as it goes forward.

Janis Braithwaite now Liaison Officer

Meanwhile, the Territory’s leader said Government always had the idea of developing the tourism product and marketing the product, and has now decided that the Tourist Board will concentrate more on marketing, which is what they should be doing, and has brought into the Premier’s Office Ms. Janice Braithwaite Edwards to be the Liaison Officer to work across ministries for the development of the tourism product.

Among the areas the former Director of the BVI Tourist Board will be working on are: chairing the Gun Greek committee and working closely with the Ministry of Communications and Works on the planned expansion of the Crafts Alive Market.

He said she will also be working on beach management and beach vending policies for all beaches in the Territory in conjunction with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour.

Braithwaite-Edwards is also tasked with developing a concept for the Brandywine Bay beach, as well as, conducting an inventory of historical sites of the Territory.

27 Responses to “Premier: Airport expansion will not happen like tomorrow!”

  • ooooo (18/04/2012, 08:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    kedric wont second this motion at all....teeth and tongue going to fall out
    • school children (18/04/2012, 14:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      we heard them done fall out over that medical business venture that they had.......better walk with exact change because they wont even give each other change
      • car jack (18/04/2012, 19:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        lawd ah mussy ayo people sick meshon...dem two tight like white on rice so do not mind myron and mark acting like they run Orlando tis Kerick who still dey real boss yall
  • lodger (18/04/2012, 08:25) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    At last! A sensible slant on immediate and future possibilities!
  • Well Sah (18/04/2012, 08:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is how the plane dem going to be landing on beef island. send help http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_z5HtME9n8&feature=player_detailpage
  • positive vision (18/04/2012, 08:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    DIRECT FLIGHT FROM BEEF ISLAND TO SANTO DOMINGO COULD HELP BUILD UP OUR TOURIST INDUS ,AND EASY FOR LOCAL AND VISITORS A LIKE.
  • real talk (18/04/2012, 09:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    highly disappointed!!!!
  • heads up (18/04/2012, 09:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    so why dem acting like everting will happen like yesterday??? strupppsss
  • Iron Lion (18/04/2012, 09:25) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    yes another success story nah wait for nothing lets do this. wha happen to vi airlink though, they not part of negotiations? they are our airline, wuk on this doc please. a direct flight to santo would be good for real, good idea to the poster saying that.
  • heads up (18/04/2012, 09:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    ok so the truth came out!
  • OMG (18/04/2012, 09:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    No NO No NO No NO NOT LIAT! I for sure will be jetting out of St. Thomas but I really hate the ferry ride across. However, I would rather travel to STT on the ferries to catch a connecting flight rather than flying out on LIAT. Waiting to hear more about BVI Airways direct flight to Miami.
  • Release (18/04/2012, 10:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Janis back gosh it not the dawson bouy doing that same job?
  • Dem Say (18/04/2012, 11:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Oh gosh Dr. Smith that back round got to go you look like you announcing carnival…who suggested these silly looking props???
  • tell the truth (18/04/2012, 11:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    But is that the same Janice bratwithe who Myron fired?? Well saw melee for soooooo
  • O Boy (18/04/2012, 14:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    What how people to run into trouble because they dont have a clue about the industry; just listening to people talking non sense and having us here in the BVI on wild chase.
  • jvd Rep. (18/04/2012, 14:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    GOVERMENT SHOULD MAKE SURE ALL THE ISLANDS IN THE BVI GET UTILIZE. TORTOLA HOST ALL THE GOV OFFICES VG HAS THE BIG HOTELS. ANEGADA SHOULD HAVE ALL THE RENEWABLE ENERGY, WIND AND SUN. AND THE MAJOR AIRPORT IT IS THE BEST PLACE TO BUILD ANY THING IN BVI.AIRPORT----OR HOTEL. TORTOLA OR VG CANT HOLD THE AIRPORT THIS COUNTRY NEEDS A REAL AIRPORT. REAL BIG ONE COME ON LEH WE DO THIS THING.
    • Well MEH BOY (18/04/2012, 18:02) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      How d electricity gine geh from Anegada to VG and Tola and JVD?
  • Well MEH BOY (18/04/2012, 18:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Nuisance and Destruction Party meh boy! Instead them try fix d road and d incenerator and cutting electricity cost dem worrying bout extending airport when VG own worthless. Instead dem try fix d wires wah hanging out of ESHS classrooms they worrying bout airport, instead them try get them window open in eshs wah glue to d frame because the labs were suppose to have AC but dont, dem worrying bout airport. Fix up the airport on VG. Then worry about the airport. Finish the damn hospital and tell dem boy no more BS! then worry about the airport. Nehow even if them big plane land here the only place we cud put them is d sea. Also d prisoners should be made to work on d roads for us or at least make um farm more so they cud give we sum local produce.
  • Confucius (18/04/2012, 22:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    So Doc, did you get approval from Kedrick before going to the press with this statement? I believe Kedrick said "it's a DONE DEAL!" Do you guys speak to one another? As far as Kedrick is concerned, the airport expansion already happened mehson! All there is left to do is pack up the tools, hose down the runway and hand our grandchildren the bill!
  • Diaspora (18/04/2012, 22:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Doc good move. The extension should not be a done deal without completion of exhaustive study and analysis. Specifically, we cannot ignore the economics of airline operations. Passenger loadings may justify longhaul direct flights. But we need to proceed deliberately.
  • Bronx (19/04/2012, 06:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    welcome back Ms. Brathwaite-Edwards. I have always admired how they take care of their supporters
  • insider (19/04/2012, 10:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    do not blame orlondo he only reads whatever he is given


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