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Air Canada Rouge on its inaugural arrival to AIA on Dec. 14, 2017. (iWN photo)
Air Canada Rouge on its inaugural arrival to AIA on Dec. 14, 2017. (iWN photo)

The Tourism Authority should know by Friday whether Air Canada has accepted its proposal and would, therefore, reverse its decision to suspend flight to Argyle International Airport.

Glen Beache, chief executive officer of the Tourism Authority, told a press conference, on Monday, that Air Canada decided to suspend flights to St. Vincent and three other destinations because of changes in the law in Canada.

He said that the Vincentian government met with Air Canada last Thursday.  

“And the reason for that is simply that we’re not the only country Air Canada has pulled out of for the summer. There are three others beside us,” Beache said, adding that the development is “not any fault of Air Canada … or any fault of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, why Air Canada pulled out”.

He said that late last year, the Canadian government changed some of the laws and rules regarding flight time for crew members “of which they shortened it”.

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He said Toronto-Antigua and Barbuda is the furthest route in the Caribbean to which an Air Canada crew can now fly without having to overnight.

“So, Antigua has kept their flights. But places like St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada, who’ve had two flights weekly, it has been very difficult,” Beache said, adding that Air Canada, like many other airlines, is affected by “a shortage of pilots internationally”.

He continued:

“Now the problem we have in St. Vincent the Grenadines with it is that at two flights per week, that means the pilots and the crew would have to stay here for at least three days until the next flight gets in for them to fly back. And it’s just not reasonable for them to do this.”

Beache said SVG was the last of the four countries affected to have met with Air Canada on Thursday.

He said that, basically, Air Canada is suspending flight to any country that cannot sustain more than two flights weekly because doing otherwise would mean that Air Canada crew would have to be in that destination “doing nothing for those few days”.

Beache echoed the comments of Minister of Tourism Carlos James who told the press conference of the difficulties with regional air travel, saying this is not only a challenge, but it would be more cost to Air Canada to fly its crew from St. Vincent to Barbados then to catch a flight to Toronto.

“It’s a difficult situation,” Beache said.

Glen Beache 2
CEO of the SVG Tourism Authority, Glen Beache at the Ministry of Tourism press conference on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023.

“In our conversation with Air Canada, we put a solution to them for that problem. I’m not going to go into the solution here because Air Canada’s promised to get back to us by Friday of this week, in terms of what the answer is to it,” he further told the media.

“They were very happy as out of the four countries we’re the only ones that came with a solution to the issue. And they were very happy about that. They understand our concerns and especially at a time where Canada is our fastest growing source market.

“It is it is growing extremely fast. Canadians are traveling and one of the things that we were looking at, especially, I know everybody’s speaking about carnival and so on, which is huge for us. But one of the things that we’ve been looking at, and stats don’t lie, is that more Canadians are looking to travel during the summer also, because it’s a time when they can bring their family.”

He said SVG has seen an uptick in Canadians traveling with their family, especially during the summer.

“So, kind of us not getting those flights out of Toronto, at least twice weekly, for the summer hit us hard. And they actually apologised for it because their communications manager knew the same day that we did, their network agents department had taken it off.”

He said that if on Friday Air Canada decided to reinstate the flight, the Tourism Authority would “appreciate them putting out something explaining that.

“Because as many of you will know, even when we speak about the announcement of new airlines coming in to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, you realise we don’t speak about it. We let the airlines make that announcement first,” Beache said.

“Because we’ve become, unfortunately, a kind of sceptical society,” he said, adding that people tend to dismiss these announcements when they come from the government rather than the airline.

“So, one of the things we like to do is let the airlines make the announcement. Therefore, there can be no questions about if this is true,” Beache said

He noted that American Airlines will be starting their daily flights from Miami to St. Vincent this week.

“And that’s big,” he said, adding that the airfare has fallen considerably since the announcement of the daily flights.

6 replies on “SVG awaits final word on suspended Air Canada flights”

  1. I believe that as well, someone is lying about something. In my opinion Air Canada flights to Caribbean from Toronto….especially Grenada, needs some competition because they are the only flight from Toronto going straight home. Sunwing always messing up and Caribbean airlines passes through Trinidad first before going Grenada. The flights are extremely expensive now as well

  2. Now I have some explanation and reasoning for the problems facing several Caribbean islands. I thought the flights were cancelled already, but was told yesterday by a friend and my daughter that June was the date set for cancellation.
    If the tourist industry gets the message out early, then those gossipers won’t have the ability to talk and write crap.
    I don’t know why the plane has to be on the island when the second plane arrives. I hope I have this wrong, because there is no need for the pilots to spend 2 or 3 days on the island. They should be able to fly out the next morning – if possible.

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