Argyle International Airport in May 2016. (Photo: Friends of the Argyle International Airport/Facebook)

By the end of June 2016, Vincentians will know definitely the name of at least one airline that will be flying to the long-delayed Argyle international Airport.

“I want to tell you this — can’t tell you the name of this airline, but we have already done the negotiations with an international carrier out of the United States and before the end of June, I will be signing the agreement,” Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told the Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) 22nd national convention on Sunday.

He said he was just waiting for the feedback of the Attorney General on a number of items, and also from the Director General of Finance and planning.

“The agreement is OK as far as I read it but I have to get the final input of these two important officials,” Gonsalves said.

This is the latest in a long list of comments by public officials that this or that, unnamed, airline has agreed to fly to the airport.

But Gonsalves said that the airline will make an announcement in a matter of weeks.

“And before the end of June, this airline will be announcing that it will be coming to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the date when it will start coming to St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

“And when this international carrier announces that they are coming here later this year, that is going to drive other competitors to want to come to St. Vincent at the Argyle International Airport,” Gonsalves said.

“And there are other airlines in America and Canada and the Caribbean and there is an airline in Britain and more than one charter company interested,” he said.

Gonsalves said his government is signing air service agreements with a number of countries.

However, he did not say anything of the Trinidad government-owned Caribbean Airlines, which he said just ahead of the general elections on Dec. 9, had agreed to fly to Argyle.

Head of the Tourism Authority, Glenn Beache has repeatedly said that airlines are interested in flying to Argyle, but do not want to make an announcement as yet, because they don’t want their competitors to know what they are doing.

The international airport, the nation’s first, has missed completion deadlines annually since 2011.

The latest completion date is June 2016, with the airport beginning to operate before the end of this year.

Gonsalves told the convention that rain, the delay in the removal of the petroglyphs, and the disbursement of funds had contributed to the delay in completion the airport.

Beache still mum about airlines planning to fly to Argyle (+Videos)

21 replies on “Airline to announce in June plans to fly to Argyle — PM”

  1. I am smelling fresh election, and of course the Pied Piper of SVG is bring the same old ammunition out, once again to fool his followers.The question I want to ask is will these people fall for that Airport talk again. The more things change, the more they remain the same. One thing I can say it’s not AA, JetBlue or Us Airways, so Mr Pm go head and send in your clowns.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      Fool us once, shame on you; fool us twice, shame on us; fool us over and over again proves we are just fools.

  2. C. ben-David says:

    Is this going to be another empty “memorandum of understanding”‘ with a small US airline?

    Will the terms of the agreement oblige the government of SVG to pay for all empty seats both inbound and outbound?

    Will this be non-stop from America or will there be a stopover in Barbados or elsewhere in the Caribbean?

    Will this be only one flight a week on a 150 seat plane from Miami International Airport?

    Is this considered the catalyst to precipitate a surge in hotel construction at Mt. Wynne?

    If some kind of agreement is signed and there is a grand opening of the airport in July, will this result in a new general election in September?

    1. Yes; excellent questions – and ones that no one in the government seems willing and/or able to answer. Last figures I saw for annual tourist arrivals in SVG were about 74,00/year, and that may include those who arrive on cruise ships, as well as by air. (No figures on “departures” to go with that.) That comes out to about 250 arrivals per day – about 2/3 the capacity of a long-haul jet – every single day, 365 days a year. (Of course, that’s not how it works. “The Season” brings in lots of snowbirds from North America and Europe; the holidays bring ex-pat Vincys home – at least that percentage who can afford the fare.)

      What airline is likely to take on a route with such numbers? Airlines want routes they can fly full, coming and going. Every empty seat costs them – or somebody – money, and the fewer seats sold, the higher the price for those that are. (The forty-minute flight from Barbados to Bequia sometimes costs more than the long haul from JFK to Barbados, for that very reason.)

      And, no, other carriers are NOT likely to jump in the minute they hear one airline has “committed” to the route. They are going to wait, watch, and crunch numbers to make sure their doing so makes fiscal sense. If it doesn’t, they won’t be coming. Period.

      And keep in mind something the government apparently doesn’t like to admit: Most tourists who fly into St. Vincent are en route to one of the Grenadines. This is not likely to change simply because of a new airport. This would only change if St. Vincent itself provided more desirable “attractions”: hotels, all-inclusive resorts, activities, modern infrastructure, adequate medical services, inexpensive and comfortable public transportation, and so on. I have seen no indication, anywhere, that any of this is in the works, or even being considered.

      The whole thing seems to have been approached in a bass-ackwards way: Build the airport, assume that all kinds of people will show up, and THEN we’ll think about what to do with them once they get here. The airport is a “response” to a currently nonexistent “demand.” No matter how wonderful AIA may eventually be, it will not create that demand. People do not choose to “vacation” at an airport, and they never will. A well-run airport is a “convenience,” not a destination.

  3. Patrick Ferrari says:

    “And when this international carrier announces that they are coming here later this year, that is going to drive other competitors to want to come to St. Vincent at the Argyle International Airport.”

    And he is keeping it a secret because …?

  4. Patrick Ferrari says:

    That makes three because Air Berlin and CAL has already been presented as fait accompli.

  5. Patrick Ferrari says:

    It used to be, like, seven or eight.

    What is happening? I’ll tell you what is happening: the closer to the line, the closer to the truth.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      Patrick, me thinks a lot of this is tied to the outcome of the election petitions. If the case is thrown out on procedural grounds — the likely outcome — we will be back to endless airport delays.

      If they are heard and won — unlikely but not impossible — the airport will have a soft and rushed opening, together with lots of phony airline and resort promises followed by a snap national election which the ULP would win 9 seats to 6.

      How’s that for a wild prediction!

      1. Patrick Ferrari says:

        I know whom you have written off but it did not take a whole lot of grey cells.

        But I have to question what you mean by “back to endless airport delays”? I would be a nice boy and not ask: did we ever leave?

        I would say, though that you are wrong because Rudy said that almost nothing can stop his June deadline for the “state of readiness for operation.” Are you doubting honest ol’ Rudy? A professional by his own opinion.

        Wait, I nearly get ketch C. ben. You almost trap me. Boy, what you say could be right. You said “airport delays.” And Oxford defines an airport this way: “A place where civil aircraft may land in order to discharge and receive passengers, refuel, or undergo maintenance.”

        So, Rudy is giving them a series of structures. Not an airport. It is up to Ralph & Co. to turn the complex into an airport, which is what you are saying is to be delayed more.

        Who am I to blow against the wind.

  6. Patrick Ferrari says:

    So June then.

    We go sell the “crown jewel” at Arnos Vale and pay off the “interim loan” and … shazam, debt free.

    (Run it by me again what I said about closer to the line, the closer to the truth.)

  7. Patrick Ferrari says:

    The thing I like best about this stage is Beache’s mumness: may it never end, dread.

    All things being equal it shouldn’t because the closer to the line the closer to the truth.

    But have all things ever been equal?

  8. Patrick Ferrari says:

    Build it and they will come.

    Announce one and ten will come.

    But keep the one a secret and I say (again): if you want to win an election go to Ralph school of politics but if you want to run an airport don’t go to his school of economics.

    And you might as well skip his school of common sense too.

    1. Ralphonomics= spend, borrow, and then tax.
      Spend your way into prosperity. These are all Keynesian economic principles. Look it up John Maynard Keynes says that if you get your country into trouble by spending too much, you need to spend more.
      I have seen Ralph mention twice that he is a firm believer in Keynesian Economics.
      Keynes said: “If I owe the bank 1000 dollars I have a problem, if I owe the bank 100,000 dollars the bank has a problem.” = the “Master Stroke”. Unfortunately this is not true because THE TAXPAYERS HAVE THE PROBLEM”, not the bank or not Ralph.

  9. Brown Boy USA says:

    The PM can’t tell us the other day about the plans that will be implemented in SVG to combat crime, we just have to wait and see he said. Now he can’t tell us which airline is planning to fly to this country. What can he us tell? Everything seems to be a big secret as if we are to be grateful that he’s doing such a great deed for us. Give the people something substantive, we deserve to know, it’s our country. The secret thing ain’t going to well with me. Come out plain and tell us the way things are. Janassy, you are right, I smell fresh election and election empty promise.

  10. Luther Bonadie says:

    Listening to all you dumb ass Vincentian, is just like listening to a bunch of baby rats.

  11. Dave from Toronto says:

    My intel is telling me that a deal has been reached in principle with American Airlines. They are also close to reaching a deal with WestJet of Canada and British Airways from the UK.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      Mt question again is whether these will be non-stop flights from Toronto/Montreal for WestJet, New York for American Airlines and London for British Airways or will there be stops and plane changes along the way, making the whole exercise and building of Argyle redundant.

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