The Virgin Islands delegation led by the Minister of Communication and Public Works, the Honorable Kye Rymer, at the recently concluded Routes World 2022 forum in Las Vegas, USA, reportedly marked very promising avenues for increasing air transport towards the territory.
The delegation also included representatives of the VI Airports Authority headed by Managing Director, Mr. Kurt AG Menal, and Director of Tourism, Mr. Clive McCoy.
According to Minister Rymer, most airlines were very intrigued by what VI has to offer as a travel destination and several expressed interest in continuing discussions on route development.
“We have received several requests to provide additional technical information to airlines to review their position on flights to the BVI and requests for follow-up conversations,” the minister said.
The Honorable Rymer added: “We have also received interest from an airline regarding charter options to the continental United States, which is a possibility with the support of some of our industry partners. . Another popular airline is very interested in considering a codeshare with a ferry service to the BVI from St Thomas. We’ve also been talking with some airlines about how they can factor in our route development plans to make it easier for people from more US states to connect with flights to the BVIs.
Minister Rymer said that while the current length of the runway at Beef Island was a prohibitive factor, airlines have indicated they will be eager to get to VI as soon as the runway is extended.
“They told us that they find that a significant number of their passengers have the VI as their final destination. So they know our potential once it becomes possible for them to land and take off. They have no doubts about the viability of our destination.This kind of interest and information will be very helpful as we continue to work on our runway expansion plans.
While finding direct flights between VI and the Americas was a high priority, the delegation’s goals also included increasing overall air connectivity to the territory and the overall volume of flights and passengers passing through its airports. , as well as promoting VI as a top quality and high value tourist destination and attracting more visitors.
The delegation met with executives from eight airlines, including American Airlines, JetBlue, Air Canada, Spirit, Frontier Airlines and United Airlines, among others; officials from two airport authorities; a tourism organization; and an airport management company.
The annual Routes World event is the premier global forum for the commercial aviation industry. It brings together the global route development community with over 2,500 leading service providers in all aspects of the industry from around the world under one roof. The event brings together senior executives from airport authorities, airlines, destinations and other stakeholders who use Routes to make presentations, establish and build networks, promote destinations and services, organize numerous meeting opportunities and provide exclusive industry insight into air travel and destination. This year, the event was held from October 16 to 18.
Among the opportunities for developing routes and increasing air travel to the VI generated during the talks was the potential for cooperation with the airport authorities of Sint Maarten and Guadeloupe. In addition, following the discussions, officials from Sint Maarten and Puerto Rico indicated that improvements could be expected to their facilities, which would improve the experience of passengers traveling through their airports to the Virgin Islands and further afield. come back.