Argyle International Airport is expected to become operational this year. (Photo: Friends of AIA/Facebook)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has listed to Parliament the airlines with which his government is discussing possible flights to Argyle International Airport, expected to become operational this year.

“The authorities that are involved in this under my own guidance, they have been in touch or the airlines in touch with them — American Airlines, JetBlue, Delta, Spirit, WestJet, British Airways and Caribbean Airlines,” Gonsalves told Parliament on Tuesday in response to a question from Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace.

“At the appropriate time, when all arrangement have been made with any of these airlines, I will, as usual, within the tradition of openness and transparency of this government, present the information to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

“Am I to assume, Honourable Prime Minister, that there are no agreements thus far?” Eustace said in a supplementary question.

“Mr. Speaker, I have given my answer,” Gonsalves responded.

“I understand the answer,” Eustace said.

Gonsalves, responding other questions from Eustace, told Parliament that the total projected cost of the airport is roughly EC$700 million

“But, Mr. Speaker, approximately 160 million of that is in-kind contributions, so that actually the projected cost is 542 million dollars,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance.

He told Parliament that at the end of December 2014 just over EC$435 million had been spent on the airport.

“Some of what remains to be spent has already been committed, but I don’t need to go into the further details. I just stick to what is asked.”

Regarding management of the airport when completed, Gonsalves said the relevant authorities and public official are putting together all the relevant documentation, relevant proposals for a government-owned company to manage the operations of the airport.

“There will be a separation between the actual management and the matter of the technical aspects tackled by the Director of Airports. At E.T. Joshua [Airport], the Director of Airports also manages the airport, but there will be a difference at the Argyle International Airport, in keeping with modern international airports,” he said.

The airport, which has been under construction since 2008, has missed several completion deadlines.

12 replies on “PM names airlines being lobbied to fly Argyle Airport”

  1. I visited the air port one week ago and I don’t understand why we are being told that it will become operational this year, its impossible. I await the excuse when it dosnt happen

  2. Dr. Dexter Lewis says:

    Don’t hold your breath people. The Argyle Airport won’t fly.

    I was expecting the PM to say the Venezuelan airline agreed to come to Argyle. Are they being cautious? No other Airline would fly to Argyle. Not for many a year. It is not ready, will not be ready. What will be ready is a string of fancy excuses.

    And let’s hope we do not get any heavy rains before the project is properly re-examined and re-appointed. Or should we pray for heavy rains to fully expose many of the problems?

  3. C. ben-David says:

    They can talk to these airlines til the cows come home but not one is goin to come here unless we pay for all the empty seats and exempt them from all landing and other fees.

    WestJet flies small planes from Canada to Barbados four times a week during the high season. If a tourism powerhouse like Barbados has so few WJ customers flying to Barbados, what does this say about a tourism weakling like us?

    No mention of Air Canada. Guess what? Air Canada stopped flying to Trinidad years ago because of a lack of business. What does this say about our chances of landing any big airlines?

  4. C. ben-David says:

    In November 8, 2011, the Prime Minister defended his government’s decision to out-source the management of AIA saying that the skills needed are not available locally. Gonsalves, speaking at a symposium on the AIA, said the comments of those who questioned out-sourcing reflect a ” … kind of bogus, superficial nationalism, which have no depth…. They know that … we don’t have the skilled personnel now to do it. We have to train them and we have to make sure that the requisite experience is developed and we have that as a process….That is part of our decolonisation; because the same bogus nationalists who parrot these inanities, they are the ones who are among the most backwards, colonised and unemancipated minds in the country”(https://www.iwnsvg.com/2011/11/09/pm-defends-decision-to-outsource-airport-management/).

    Suddenly, the Prime Minister has decided to go back to a “superficial nationalism which has no depth” because he has either suddenly discovered that we do in fact have or can easily obtain the “skilled personnel” to manage AIA or because he has decided to join forces with “the most backwards, colonised and unemancipated minds in the country” by setting up a new government-owned company to manage the airport once it is completed.

    Actually, none of these interpretations is correct. Many Vincentians were pleasantly surprised and heartened by the 2011 announcement, given the public’s perception of poor and indifferent performance by the current government personnel running E.T. Joshua Airport, just as they are unhappy with the performance of governmental personnel in many other areas. Now airport management will be in the hands of “a new wholly owned government company … staffed by a number of suitably trained and qualified persons,” none of whom appear to have been selected.

    What actually appears to have happened is that either the Prime Minister and the airport development company were unable to attract qualified and seasoned outsiders to manage the airport because all those contacted know a boondoggle when they see one or that these same authorities were afraid to give away decision making to an arms-length and impartial entity which would be quick to identify and report on the airport’s failings and the whole project’s failure.

    Either possibility is worrying in an age where more and more public airports are being surrendered to outside specialists in the name of professional management, cost containment, and the avoidance of conflict of interest or outright corruption.

    1. Ah but you omitted the best quote from that article. Our beloved PM also said of those who wanted local management of the airport, “This is to tell you the folly many people utter, completely reflective of their inability to engage in independent thought and action.”
      What does this say of the Honorable PM now that he is advocating the same thing that he criticized three years and four months ago?

  5. Patrick Ferrari says:

    Is way Air Berlin name day?

    They wasn’t phoning, begging Beache to come? Years now.

    How they want to expand in the Caribbean and how they impressed with what we doing at Argyle and want to use Argyle to do expansion.

    Whappen?

  6. Now it is YOUR duty to make damned sure Comrade Ralphie tells the public how much of their taxes he is promising to the airlines to serve Argyll.

    The PM of Grenada – way back when – kept that a secret until a civil servant leaked the agreement with the AA Mafia – they scraped Grenada clean on that one, including demanding a monopoly on ground handling at Point Salines, no wonder the PM did not want anybody to know.

    You all have to keep hammering at Comrade Ralphie, don’t let him get away with blowing all of your tax dollars on his pet projects.

  7. TeacherFang says:

    BREAKING NEWS: just got off facebook with Sans Queen-an insider, who incidentally threatened to shoot me and told me to haul me [email protected]#$…just jokes, I think….if I reveal this information…but apparently, final negotiations are in place for several airlines to come to Vincyland. Its just a matter of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s…finally, all gullible Vincentians can breathe easily now… Some of the airlines destined to fly to AIA:

    Lowest common denominator Continental

    Chattering Nabobs United

    Stinking Dirty Dog Airways

    Sackcloth and ashes Express Airlines

    **All negotiations with these airlines are expressly subject to signed contract. For full disclosure, the Government is not privy to these negotiations. It would appear that some Secret Order is being carried out by Sans Queen.

    Stay tune.

  8. Two things….

    Where is Air Berlin? The airline that boy Beache told us was all ga-ga about flying into SVG. Secondly, I’m surprised that LIAT and Mustique airways did not make this list as they may be the only ones flying there “when” this airport becomes operational

    Mr Speaker, I have given my answer!

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