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Seven daily flights from PR to Tortola by March 2013!

- Seaborne Airlines commits to daily flights to VI
Seaborne's airline newest planes, Saab 340B 30-seater, will be used to ply the Puerto Rico to Tortola route by March 2012 with seven daily flights. Photo courtesy Seaborne
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Seaborne Airlines has commitment to having seven daily flights from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Tortola by March 2013.

The disclosure was made this morning June 29, 2012 in the House of Assembly sitting by Premier and Minister for Tourism Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith who was at time was giving an update on the tourism agenda in the Territory.

“Just yesterday we were able to confirm that our discussions with Seaborne Airlines have been fruitful with their announcement that they will have seven daily flights from San Juan to Tortola by March 2013,” he said, adding that the negotiations included the Seaborne’s three new Saab 340B 30-seater planes.

According to an article published in the St. John’s Source yesterday June 28, which speaks about Seaborne’s acquisition of the new planes, it said the planes will be used on airport to airport routes for the Seaborne Shuttle, not on the routes where planes land on water. The 340Bs will replace those used on the San Juan to St. Thomas and St. Croix routes and supplement those used between St. Thomas and St. Croix.

The article further quoted Seaborne’s marketing consultant Angelia Hanne, as saying that with American Airlines ending flights out of San Juan to St. Thomas and St. Croix, Seaborne expects to fill in the gap.

The new planes are part of Seaborne’s expansion program, and Hanne said the airline will start San Juan to Tortola services in October and plan to double the number of flights between St. Thomas and St. Croix.

Meanwhile, noting that the principal challenge currently facing tourism in the Territory is that of air access and getting visitors to the Territory in an efficient and cost effective manner, Hon. Smith said as government awaits its long term plan to address the situation with the expansion of the Terrance B.Lettsome International Airport, they have embarked on several interim measures to get tourists to the VI in a cost effective and effective manner starting from this winter.

“Madam Speaker, in this regard the Board and the Premier’s Office have engaged a strategy which focuses on getting visitors to the BVI via San Juan, Puerto Rico and the Cyril E. King International Airport in St. Thomas and for our European visitors, the VC Bird International Airport in Antigua. The Board via its Air Lift Committee and where necessary myself as Premier, the Ministers of Communication and Works and Natural Resources and Labour have met at the highest levels with all of the principal carriers serving or proposing to serve the Territory for the upcoming winter season and beyond.”

He explained that the objective of those meetings was to ensure that should American Eagle discontinue its service to the Territory during the next season, that the destination will have in place alternate options for meeting its seat capacity into the Territory from San Juan. “We are also working to improve the air capacity from San Juan and St. Thomas into TB Lettsome International and Virgin Gorda. These discussions are proceeding with a view to reaching a conclusion in a timely manner for next winter.”

Regarding air access via the Cyril E. King International Airport on St. Thomas, the Territory’s leader said the objective is to better coordinate the various ferry schedules with the arrival and departure schedules of the airlines servicing the Cyril E. King Airport.

“Additionally, we are also keen on improving the visitor reception at Cyril E. King for BVI bound visitors. In this regard, we have opened discussions with our tourism counterparts in the USVI with a view to addressing this matter. We are also in discussion with the various ferry operators about establishing an online booking and reservation capability for visitors. Once these arrangements have been established, the BVI Tourist Board will immediately engage in a vigorous promotional campaign to drive BVI bound traffic via St. Thomas.”

8 Responses to “Seven daily flights from PR to Tortola by March 2013!”

  • Good (29/06/2012, 13:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Great Stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good! Better! BEST!!!!!
  • game on (29/06/2012, 14:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    or goodies my government in action....
  • school children (29/06/2012, 14:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    we anxious to hear the price
  • De Man (29/06/2012, 15:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    price doh mean a ting...u have to consider the benefits...if we wait to do this next 10 year we will not be able to afford it and be stuck with the lil run away(lol) we got now!
  • rattie (29/06/2012, 18:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    hope this is just not pure talk liek the NDP is known for
  • taxpayer (30/06/2012, 09:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why March when the Tourist Season is winding down. That is a formular for failuure. Local traffic cannot support that level of service, the same reason our locally registered carrier failed when it started its Beef Island / Miami service with a BAE 146 aircraft years ago.
  • insider (01/07/2012, 10:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    we do not need a new airport we need improved ferry services
  • Mr. Concerned (02/07/2012, 17:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    To make this work, Seaborn needs to enter into code share agreements with the carriers bringing people from the US to San Juan. Tourists aren't going to support Seaborn's service if they have to collect their luggage in San Juan and then wait in line to check-in and recheck their bags before proceeding to the BVI. The BVI government has proven many times over, with the hospital project, that they have no idea how to successfully manage a large capital project. I suspect the airport's runway expansion will be another debacle. I am 100% confident that government will be totally unprepared when American Eagle stops flying into Tortola in March 2013. The tourist sector in the BVI is in serious trouble. Does anyone think they'll get this right?

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