Argyle International Airprot. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)

The regional civil aviation authority has granted permission for the operation of Argyle International Airport, beginning on Feb. 14.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told a press conference in Kingstown on Monday that permanent secretary with responsibility for civil aviation, Godfred Pompey, has given him a letter to this effect, from the director general of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority.

“Authorisation is hereby granted for the commencement of operation at the Argyle International Airport from 00:01 a.m. on the 14th of February 2017,” Gonsalves quoted the letter as saying.

Gonsalves, who also has ministerial responsibility for civil aviation matters, said he has been advised that LIAT would wish to move their aircraft to Argyle on the night of Feb. 13, after their last flight into E.T. Joshua Airport.

The regional carrier, of which St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a shareholder, would like to park their aircraft at Argyle so that the first set of passengers would depart from there on Feb. 14th.

Gonsalves said he was informed that if that is the case, LIAT would be given the specific authorisation “so to proceed”.

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“I don’t want you to, if LIAT, for instance, decides that they don’t want to keep the planes there overnight, don’t put my neck under the guillotine,” he told reporters and media audiences.

“I can only tell you what I have been advised is the plan,” said Gonsalves, who is chair of LIAT’s shareholder government, which also include Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, and Dominica.

“There are persons who think that while you are dealing with these matters, in the final analysis you have to be precise, but there might be a particular decision that might be fluid, for one reason or the other,” he said.

Gonsalves said that Pompey has also told him that on Tuesday at 10 a.m., there will be a full operations test of facilities at the new airport to determine if there are any problems that need to be resolved before the opening.

The prime minister said he believes that the press will be invited. He said he believes that the state-owned Agency for Public Information (API) will be invited but don’t see if API is there, why officials can’t invite the rest of the media.

There will be a further test on Feb. 4 of all emergency systems, such as fire, Coast Guard, the National Emergency Management Organisation –“everybody,” Gonsalves said.

He said opening an airport is not like building the Leeward Bus Terminal — a facility built by his government a decade ago — and moving people out.

“There are a lot of things,” he said, adding that he sometimes shakes his head when he listens to what people say about the process of making the airport operational.

The prime minister said he expects that at the appropriate time, Glen Beache, head of the Tourism Authority, would give all the up to date information about the flights into the airport on Feb. 14.

Gonsalves, however, said he has been told that “matters are satisfactory in train and the appropriate announcements would be made, hopefully, on a timely basis”.

The EC$729 million airport will begin operation six years behind schedule. The government has said that two international charters would land at the airport on Feb. 14.

7 replies on “Regional body grants permission for operations at Argyle Airport”

  1. The regional authority Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) approved already they do not count for regular international airlines that approval still has to come from IATA and CAA.

    This statement is just nonsense to confuse Vincies.

    1. I take it that you continue to stand by every word you have written about the deficiencies and defects in the construction of AIA. If so, does this mean you will reject a positive IATA decision?

  2. Well , Well . Well . I recall a certain person stating that the Argyle International Airport could not
    pass muster to be an International Airport . But it now turns out that aint the case . I expect that
    Peter Bi Nose will soon be here to clarify his comments , HE is the person who sent letters all over the World stating that the AIA be not granted to be called an International Airport . He
    sent copies to various Countries .

    Peter , it now seems that you were & are in error regarding the Argyle International Airport . I expect too that your partner in Crime who continuously writes articles in this Online Newspaper will cease writing lengthy articles critical of SVG . Frankly in my opinion both of
    You need to apologise to the Citizens of SVG , for your constant barrage of Criticisms regarding the Airport .

    I however doubt that either of You will apologise to the People of St. Vincent & the Grenadines
    for your utterances , because that I doubt is in your DNA . YOU prefer to write about
    ” Alternative Facts ” .

    1. Dave from Toronto says:

      For the the guys you mentioned who keep spewing their garbage on this site, it will never stop. 10 years from now, when SVG is reaping the rewards from AIA, they will still be writing about something else.

      Their problem is that it’s all about them. They like hearing themselves talk and to read their own writing and to comment under various aliases. They love to yell “fire” in a crowded movie theatre, with no concern for the people trampling each other.

    2. I have never commented on the physical and allied aspects of the construction of AIA because, unlike some posters who either actually have or pretend to have engineering experience, I have no competence in that area.

      I have written nothing that I have any reason to apologize for.

      I resent being lumped in the same category with those whom I share no sins.

  3. This is mostly old news. The ECCAA certified the airport some time ago, at least according to Glen Beache:

    https://www.iwnsvg.com/2017/01/05/only-chartered-intl-flights-will-land-at-argyle-until-its-certified-beache/

    I am convinced that Argyle will also soon be approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which would allow it to freely send and accept international flights.

    Why am I so sure? If the airport fails this test big time, this would be the end of the Gonsalves regime, an outcome the PM is well aware of which is why he would have made sure that the airport was constructed to the appropriate standards.

    So what would this do to the credibility of a man whom the Prime Minister has implicitly called one of the “Internet crazy” — a man with the pseudonym Peter Binose — who has repeatedly said this would never happen because the airport was not properly constructed, citing many of its deficiencies over and over?

    Peter, please remind us of these deficiencies by listing the postings where you describe them.

    Many thanks!

  4. Best wishes for a smooth and safe opening of the AIA. May the Good Lord smile kindly on this our most ambitious and expensive national infrastructural development. And may he grant us, Vincentians, the strength and wisdom to manage this AIA in the best interest of all Vincentians.

    God Bless SVG! And God Bless the AIA!

    Vinci Vin

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