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Argyle International Airport.
Argyle International Airport.
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The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

We witnessed another crazy publicity stunt on Sunday, December 6 at the site of the incomplete Argyle International Airport (AIA) by a desperate ULP government so hungry to the cling to its slender grip on power that it chartered the landing of a LIAT plane on the unfinished runway.

This ploy was just a bad joke because we have been told since 2005 that AIA was meant to attract international airlines flying big jets from North America and Europe.

We already have a perfectly suitable airport for LIAT at Arnos Vale. So what is so startling about a small LIAT plane being able to land at Argyle when it is capable of landing on any flat surface of suitable length?

It may have actually convinced some of the skeptics that AIA is a viable project if the Prime Minister had held a press conference showing us in black and white the contracts that international carriers have signed promising non-stop service to AIA once it is operational.

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Instead, we received a vague verbal assurance that Caribbean Airlines (CAL), a carrier hardly mentioned in the past, will fly to Argyle once the airport is serviceable. What our devious Prime Minister failed to mention is that CAL does not have non-stop flights to anywhere in the Caribbean from Toronto, New York, or London — its only three overseas venues — except its two hubs in Jamaica and Trinidad. So much for the beginning of non-stop flights from overseas.

Having to connect through Jamaica or Trinidad would mean that the existing LIAT connection from Barbados would still be the cheapest and most convenient way to reach St. Vincent Island, making AIA even more redundant than it already is. Allowing CAL to travel here from Jamaica or Trinidad also would mean that it would be allowed to land here from Barbados, St. Lucia, and Grenada, thereby hastening LIAT’s bankruptcy.

The juvenile landing of a LIAT aircraft at AIA and the CAL announcement are just more proof that — based on bottom-line economic considerations — no international carriers are interested in providing non-stop international air service to AIA.

The two election rallies at AIA celebrating the landing of small aircraft is just more proof that this is a political airport — nothing more, nothing less.


This is the 19th in a series of essays on the folly of the proposed Argyle International Airport.

My other AIA pieces may be found at:

  1. Get ready for a November election!
  2. Lessons for Argyle Airport from Canada’s Montreal–Mirabel Int’l
  3. Lessons for Argyle Int’l Airport from the cruise industry
  4. Lessons from Target Canada for Argyle Int’l Airport
  5. Lessons from Trinidad & Tobago for Argyle Int’l Airport
  6. The Dark Side of Tourism: Lessons for Argyle Airport
  7. Why Argyle Won’t Fly: Lessons from Dominica
  8. Ken Boyea and the Phantom City at Arnos Vale
  9. Airport Envy Vincy-Style
  10. Fully realising our country’s tourism potential
  11. Airport without a cause
  12. The unnatural place for an international airport
  13. The Potemkin Folly at Argyle
  14. False patriotism and deceitful promises at Argyle
  15. Airport politics and betrayal Vincy-Style
  16. Phony airport completion election promises, Vincy-style
  17. Is Argyle Airport really a ‘huge game-changer for us?’
  18. Has the cat got your tongue, Prime Minister?

C. ben-David

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

10 replies on “More proof that Argyle won’t fly”

  1. Sad to say. I know most of us will like to see the comrade move…. unfortunately his tactics outrun the other parties and he’ll be given that desired 4th term. Its Vincentians rmr? BREADFUIT Mentality!

  2. I don’t know how much C Ben knows macroeconomics but almost any project undertaken by any government in the world cannot stand by itself as a viable business so he should stop misleading Vincentians. He seems to have lived overseas so he should be able to understand this;
    The US space program costs billions how much profit has been made from it. The New York city transit has been in operation for over 100 years yet its 5yr capital program has to be subsidized to the tune of close to $20billion, None of the electrical systems in the Grenadines can sustain themselves and must be subsidized by the mainland vinlec. Schools, roads, hospitals are never profitable and need tax money to keep them going. An airport is no different . its a necessary part of the infrastructure of any developing country to support economic development and put us on a level footing with the rest of the world. C. Ben I hope you are wrong and your children and grandchildren will reap the benefit.
    I hope people don’t listen to you because which ever country you lived in you were just a statistic walking the street whose opinion was not sought. I meet your type every day on the streets of New York; I am not impressed

    1. A big red herring becauseI have never ever said that AIA should or could be sustainable as a stand-alone project.

      I have always said that the spin-off benefits of AIA would be negligible, unlike the spin-off of the other projects like NYC transit which serves tens of millions of passengers a year and whose absence would cost billions a year in traffic gridlock and lost productivity.

      On the other hand, AIA will add nothing but the misery of debt to the lives of our people. It is not needed and it is not be afforded.

  3. E.T Joshua was never a perfectly good airport. It was always flawed with a rather major safety drawback. It points up into a valley that has a one way approach. It would be a foolish pilot indeed who attempted to abort a landing when very close to touchdown which is a mandatory consideration. There is a procedure called a go around or aborted landing or missed approach, touch and go (take your pick) which if left too late becomes a conclusive YOU CANT DO IT because you cannot climb out sufficiently to clear the obstructions… Each time Liat fly into ET Joshua and the aircraft are fully loaded.. its a one way deal – clench your buttocks. I don’t understand how ETJoshua ever got FAA approval to become a working airport. I doubt you will see the likes of that airport in any first world country.

    I am a pilot too and understand weight and balance calculations and loading against climb out rates – the aircraft get bigger or more packed – more wing loading leading to lower climb rates. More risk in a one way airfield. Please don’t take my work for it go talk to a pilot and ask them where have they seen anything like ET Joshua – any where in the world? Its SVG mainland’s main airport and it has served its purpose and is now seriously lacking. So not quite a perfectly good airport. I am surprised that you guys are not saying hold on – its a safety matter and ET Joshua should close asap ! Why do you think Liat and every other passenger aircraft take off heading south towards Bequia. and not in the same direction that they land in? Amerijet is a freight aircraft and the considerations there are different – if they carried passengers they would not be allowed to take off up into the valley.

    You know something – I dare say it doesn’t matter how many times I express this concern because no one wants to listen, Ignorance is bliss right. It gives weight to getting the AIA in operation asap.

    Dekkies don’t want to find a Liat aircraft parked in the river at the back of the shop which is what a go round would probably lead to.

    By the way the rest of the world would say “dip” not “sap” or “sop” ….

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