This is according to Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), who has disclosed that over the past several weeks, his Government has been writing to airlines, encouraging and inviting them to conduct direct flights between the Virgin Islands and the US mainland utilising the current runway length at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island.
“The feedback has been positive from all the airlines contacted,” Premier Fahie told the media at a press conference on March 25, 2022.
He said one particular airline is presently expanding its fleet and is optimistic about starting this service by the end of the third quarter of this year – based on the discussions taking place. He said the others are looking at their fleet configuration.
“Another airline, which heard about what we are trying to do, reached out to us because they have recently made some additions to their fleet, and they now have an aircraft that is capable of conducting flights between Beef Island and Miami, possibly three days per week.”
The Premier said “technical discussions” are underway with this airline to work out the logistics involved and “we are optimistic that things will work out for this airline to introduce the direct flights very soon.”
Hon Fahie said the public will be kept updated as progress is made.
In the meantime, Premier Fahie said the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) and the other relevant stakeholders are continuing the technical work with respect to the expansions of both airports at Beef Island and Virgin Gorda.
He said updates will also be provided as these technical works progress, “so that persons can be fully informed of these projects.”
The ousted National Democratic Party (NDP) Government had sought to establish direct flights to VI from Miami by investing in a defunct airline. In the end they ended up doling out $7.2M; however, not direct flights were realized.
The Government of the Virgin Islands has been seeking to recover the funds via the courts.