NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (November 23, 2022)- The Nevis Island Administration (NIA) is optimistic that negotiations with a number of regional airlines with regard to increasing airlift on the island of Nevis, will soon bear fruit.
Giving an update on the issue of airlift recently, Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis and NIA Minister of Finance and Tourism, said negotiations with the airlines are at an advanced stage and the government is optimistic of a resurgence of flights at the Vance W. Amory International Airport.
“On airlift, a perennial problem we know we’ve had, I am proud to announce that we have now advanced discussions with Cape Air regarding returning to Nevis after an hiatus. Cape Air has been interested in coming back for some time but they had an unusual problem, and that is post-Covid they couldn’t find pilots, apparently there’s a shortage of pilot; but we are talking to them and they hope to be back shortly, and they are going to provide a service to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.”
He pointed out that one of the advantages of having Cape Air servicing Nevis is that the airline has code share and interline agreements with major US carriers including JetBlue, American Airlines, Delta, and United, allowing persons to travel from Nevis and make connections onward to the United States.
“So we hope that not only will this service our people in the Virgin Islands an opportunity to come home directly to Nevis, but it will also allow us to use St. Thomas as a possible portal if we’re going on to the United States and are doing a connection. As we know sometimes you can get significant savings if you were to fly through one of those major hubs such as the US Virgin Islands rather than seeking to fly direct.”
Mr. Brantley revealed that once the details are finalized the Cape Air service should commence within the next few weeks.
Another regional carrier the NIA is seeking to attract back to Nevis is WinAir. The Premier informed that the government is in quite close discussions with the carrier, noting that the demand on the St. Maarten-Nevis corridor is quite high.
He reiterated his appeal for persons to use the VAIA as their gateway in and out of Nevis if the government is successful in having these airlines recommence operations on the island.
“If and when we get these airlines flying again into the Vance Amory International Airport I’m really beseeching our people to use the service. WinAir can, for example, provide connections to Air France and KLM going out of St. Maarten to Europe. They can also provide connections to American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit, and all of these airlines that go into St. Maarten, to the United States.
“So for us what we are seeking to do is provide as many avenues as possible for our people to travel and for our guests and tourists to come to us and that is what we are seeking to achieve.”
Premier Brantley also gave an update on the status of the airport with respect to the acquisition of a replacement fire tender for the facility, and the construction of a structure to house the equipment.
“That fire tender and its presence at the Vance Amory International Airport has removed the restrictions that we had there in terms of the airport being fully open for business.
“Without the proper size of fire tender, it means that the airport had been downgraded in terms of the aircraft and the passenger capacity that it could have, and so we were struggling with that. We have now rectified that problem and the airport therefore is now back up to full steam. So that is good- it is just in time for the tourism season, and we thank very much all who were involved in making that happen.”
The Premier gave special commendation to Mr. Wakely Daniel, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Premier and the Fire Officers who played critical roles in getting the problem resolved.