The world’s largest airline should have landed at Argyle International Airport in December 2015, if it were completed, Glen Beache, head of the tourism Authority, said on Wednesday.

It is the first time that this information is being disclosed, although Beache had, for years, faced numerous questions about which airlines would service the EC$729 million airport, which is expected to begin operating on Feb. 14 — six years behind schedule — with two chartered international flights as well as scheduled flights by regional carrier, LIAT.

Not even Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves had disclosed the American Airlines plan when on Dec. 6, 2015 — three days ahead of the general elections — when he told party supporters at a rally at the airport construction site that Caribbean Airlines (CAL) and LIAT would land at the airport.

The rally, which political observers say was intended to sway voters, took place 10 days before American Airlines was scheduled to land, according to the information Beache disclosed Wednesday on Boom FM.

A LIAT ATR-72 aircraft and some smaller aircraft landed at the incomplete airport as part of the rally.

According to Wikipedia, American Airlines is the world’s largest airline when measured by fleet size, revenue, and scheduled passenger-kilometres flown, and the second largest by number of destinations served.

Asked why is American Airlines not flying to St. Vincent as part of the Feb. 14 opening, Beache said, “Airlines don’t like to have planes on the ground. A plane on the ground is a plane that’s losing money. All of these airlines plan a year in advance, except for BA (British American). BA actually plans two year.”

He said the Tourism Authority is “hoping” for American Airlines to begin servicing St. Vincent from Miami before June.

Beache said he is hoping that American Airlines would arrive by May, with three flights a week.

A lot of this would hinge on the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which has authority over the security of the travelling public in the United States, being pleased with the security checks.

Beache said: “We’ve missed a few dates. We had WestJest and JetBlue ready to come in [in 2015]. We had already agreed for them to come in. As a matter of fact, if you look at the state of the industry conference that was held in Aruba last year, where JetBlue president spoke, he made it clear that the only place in the Caribbean that they plan to expand into is St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Asked why they are not coming now if they had planned to do so last year, Beache said, “Once you miss that date, they don’t want to have their plane on the ground. They want to come but they can’t put a plane aside and say ‘Whenever you are ready.’ That’s not the way it works.”

He said JetBlue and CAL are very interested in flying from JFK, New York to Argyle and CAL is interested in flying from Pearson airport in Toronto to St. Vincent.

JetBlue is telling him about November this year, Beache said.

“I made it clear to them that I need them by June the latest, but that goes back to plane availability and that’s a problem. And that’s why it’s necessary to make sure you have these negotiations and you have your days down pat,” Beache said, repeating that airlines don’t like to have aircraft on the ground.

JetBlue is an American low-cost airline that is the 6th-largest airline in the United States and CAL is owned by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.

“WestJet, obviously is interested in it. Both WestJet and JetBlue, we are speaking about October, November this year,” Beache said.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. is a Canadian airline that began as a low-cost alternative to the country’s competing major airlines.

Argyle International Airport will open officially on Feb. 14 with flights by regional carrier, LIAT, and the high point being the landing of two international chartered flights, one from Canada and the other from New York.

Valentine flights to Argyle could cost taxpayers half million

3 replies on “American Airlines should have landed at Argyle in 2015 — Beache”

  1. Dr. Dexter Lewis says:

    Glenn, of course no airline likes to have its planes “on the ground”, and that is what is exactly what will happen if they try to land a Boeing 737 or similar plane full of passengers prior to Argyle being certified for such. The chance for disaster could be high. We can see from the shoddy work in the roads around the airport what quality to expect.This regime has no understanding of quality and that could be bad, very bad.

  2. All of the major airlines should have flown into Argyle for the last six years. None could because the airport was in overrun finish mode and was not finished. Now it is finished will they all be coming? That is a direct question to the tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee of Vincentian tourism ‘Ralph and Glen” .

    Emirates, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, ANAs, Etihad Airways, Turkish Airlines, EVA Air, Qantas Airways , Lufthansa, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines, Thai Airways, Air France, Swiss Int’l Air Lines, Asiana Airlines, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, Austrian, Bangkok Airways, Japan Airlines, Dragonair, AirAsia, KLM, Virgin America, British Airways, Finnair, Virgin Atlantic, Hong Kong Airlines, Norwegian, Air Canada , China Southern, Aegean Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Korean Air, China Airlines, easyJet, SilkAir, Aeroflot, South African Airways, Oman Air, Air Astana, Vietnam Airlines, LAN Airlines, Jetstar Airways, Porter Airlines, AirAsiaX, Aer Lingus, WestJet, Indigo, Iberia, jetBlue Airways, Jetstar Asia, Azul Airlines, Avianca, TAM Airlines, Alitalia 74, Brussels Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Scoot 58, SAS Scandinavian , Air Seychelles, TAP Air Portugal, Thomson Airways, Southwest Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, United Airlines, Copa Airlines, Azerbaijan Airlines, Jet Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Air Mauritius, Air Berlin, Eurowings, Ethiopian Airlines, American Airlines, Peach, China Eastern, Gulf Air, Icelandair, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Philippine Airlines, American Eagle, Kenya Airways, TAAG Angola , Air China, Air Transat, Air Nostrum, Juneyao Airlines, Fiji Airways, LOT Polish, Kulula, Aeromexico, Royal Brunei Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, Tiger Airways, Mango, Royal Jordanian, SpiceJet.

    We were promised 10 X 400 seat jets arriving daily starting in 2010. That turned out to be untrue then, also impossible now or at any time during the next 2000 years.

    In June 2013 I wrote the following, which is as relevant today as it was then.

    Ten 400-seater jets a day at Argyle. Possible?
    https://www.iwnsvg.com/2013/06/03/ten-400-seater-jets-a-day-at-argyle-possible

    I must hasten to add the addendum has not been approved by the internet policeman Dr Professor C.ben-David, it was written before his investiture into the higher echelons of internet policing.

    Sorry Dr Professor David I hope I haven’t raised your jealousy and envy tolerance level beyond its usual capacity.

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