The newly installed In-Transit Lounge at the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport is expected to minimise the possibility of illegal immigrants entering the British Virgin Islands when traversing through the Beef Island airport, the BVI Airports Authority (BVIAA) has said.
Acting Managing Director of the BVIAA, Clive Smith said that because of the new measures which in-transit passengers have to take when entering the BVI, it will lessen the possibility of undocumented travellers entering undetected.
“Before we implemented this lounge, the passengers would actually come into Immigration and would actually walk into the terminal and would have to be rechecked into the departure area. Now, all passengers that are in transit will stay inside in the restricted area and come in through the In-Transit Lounge,” Smith explained.
“So those passengers are no longer out in the general population of the Virgin Islands, mixing with other passengers [so] there’s less chance of these passengers actually entering the territory if they, for example, are not of the correct Immigration status,” he added.
Process explained for In-transit passengers
Smith also said that the BVIAA has made changes to the route in-transit passengers typically take after landing in the BVI and leaving the aircraft.
He said: “Those of you that frequent the BVI or the Terrance Lettsome International Airport would recall that usually, you make a right turn towards the Immigration Department. We’ve since made a change for the In-Transit passengers.”
“The now in-transit passengers will make a left turn at the juncture and would turn to the in-transit lounge where they will then be met with BVI Airports Authority security staff who would then screen the passengers. Once the screening is complete, they then make their way into the general population in the departure lounge,” Smith further explained.
The new In-Transit Lounge which officially opened on February 1, is projected to earn the BVIAA an approximate $130,000 to $156,000 in increased annual revenue.