NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (December 17, 2013) –Premier of Nevis Hon. Vance Amory, described December 16, 2013, as an important day for Nevis where air travel was concerned.
The comment came when he delivered remarks at a press briefing with members of the Nevis Island Administration and the executive of Fly Montserrat, an airline which began filling the void left by the pull out of LIAT for the Nevis Antigua route. The event took place on the apron of the Ministry of Tourism on December 16, 2013, the same day the Airline began scheduled flights to and from the Vance W. Amory International Airport at Newcastle.
“I want to say that today is in fact a very important day for us. We were, in a way, panicking initially when LIAT indicated that they will not be doing the Antigua-Nevis flight. I think it caused us some concern because we recognized the inconvenience which that would have caused for our people who travel south especially, but more especially for those persons who come in to Antigua and want to get to Nevis.
“I think it’s important that we can give them the assurance that there will be a connecting flight which will provide that service and which will do so in a timely manner and in an efficient manner. I think that’s very important for us,” he said.
Mr. Amory welcomed the new airline service and the other travel connections it would provide to other islands in the region.
“We also want to welcome you, your thought and your expression that this is for the long haul because we don’t have any other link to Montserrat and Montserrat has become left out of the loop, as it were, of interaction in the Caribbean. So I’m sure you will provide that assistance as well for us to get our people to Montserrat because over the years we’ve developed a very close link with the people of Montserrat and they have been devoid of that kind of connection to Nevis,” he said.
The Premier noted that the service would also make a difference to the travelling public on Nevis.
“I think your service Mr. Harris, Fly Montserrat, is going to make a big difference to our people. It will mean that they will not have to go to St. Kitts and overnight or be scrambling to go to Antigua to get to Barbados or where ever they are going and we do have a fairly large population of persons who live south of the Caribbean – Guyana, Trinidad, Dominica. I think they would relish this kind of connection which your service will provide.
“So, thank you very much for accepting our invitation and I know you have been doing quite a bit of discussion with our Minister of Tourism, Mr. Brantley, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Nevis Tourism Authority. I do think this will be a very successful venture,” he said.
Meantime, Chief Executive Officer of Fly Montserrat, Captain Nigel Harris thanked the NIA for its invitation to reinstate a link service from Nevis to Antigua and back.
“Premier, Deputy Premier, thank you so much for inviting us back and it’s an absolute pleasure to be starting this service between Nevis and Antigua which I am sure is going to be hugely successful. We thank you very much for the opportunity and be assured, we will do anything in our power to make sure that it is a total success,” he said.
Mr. Harris also expressed the importance to the tourism industry on Nevis for the island’shigh-end tourist to have available, the option to fly directly to Nevis from Antigua.
“I think it’s really important that your high-end clientele are led to fly from Antigua directly into Nevis rather than to go through other islands and other means of transport.
“I think people these days expect to be able to fly to their ultimate destination and that’s the link that we are very much hoping to be filling. So again, thank you very much, we are here for the long haul. We’re not here for the next few weeks, we hope to be around for many years to come,” he said.
The Fly Montserrat service commenced operations with a 10-seat Islander aircraft but with baggage, would accommodate seven passengers which, according to Mr. Harris, would also be available for charter services.
“Our fares start from US$165 plus taxes one way. We do a lot of chartering services, in fact, we were in here yesterday and I think we did two flights in from Antigua or St. Maarten.
“Fifty percent of our business is charter, particularly air ambulance flights. We have a stretcher fit in the aircraft and we do flights all over the Caribbean and that is 24/7; middle of the night. Charter business is very important to us and we can charter anywhere literally from Turk and Caicos down to Venezuela,” he said.