If the government were to book a chartered flight from England to Argyle International Airport when it opened on Feb. 14, it would have had to ask passengers to pay around 2,000 pounds for a return ticket, if it was going to break even.
The sum represents almost three times what a traveller from the United Kingdom to St. Vincent, via Barbados, would pay, according to head of the Tourism Authority, Glen Beache, who made the disclosure to Vincentians in Montreal Friday night.
The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, which Beache heads, booked charters from Canada and New York when the airport opened, six years behind schedule.
But there was no international flight from the United Kingdom.
“I’m trying so hard with England,” Beache told the town hall meeting in Canada, adding, adding that the Vincentian diaspora out of the United Kingdom raised the most money to contribute to building the EC$700 million airport.
“And so I feel we have an obligation to really push for the direct flights. But I can also tell you this, that one of the cheapest quotes we got for charters out of England was 370,000 pounds,” he said to a loud gasp from members of the audience.
Beache said that to come close to even breaking even, the government would have had to charge about 2,000 pounds, when the average cost from England to St. Vincent via Barbados is around 800 pounds.
“I am giving you this information so you can understand what we are going through. And it is not a lack of effort,” said Beache who has been negotiating with international carriers for the past five years but has so far failed to secure any scheduled international flights to Argyle.