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SVGTA still in talks with international airlines

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With the Argyle international airport scheduled to be operational by mid-2015, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tour­ism Authority (SVGTA) continues to carry out negotiations with international airlines.{{more}}

“It’s a continuing process. I think we’re at the point now in terms of what we’re going to be able to give them, compared to what they are looking for. Many of the Caribbean countries keep that information close to heart because they’ve had experience with it before,” said CEO of the SVGTA, Glen Beache, while speaking at a press conference on Tuesday.

The CEO noted that one of the biggest weaknesses is the fact that St Vincent and the Grenadines has no history of direct international travel; therefore, there is no way of knowing what sort of traffic will come into the country, once the airport is open.

“Obviously the airlines do not want to take all of the risk. We’re going to have to help them out with some of the risk. The point we’re at now is how much of the risk we want to share and how much they want to take.

“That’s going to be the sticking point. This has been an eye opener for me. I mean marketing is my forte, but the airline industry has so many intricacies. Are we going to waive the apron fees? Are we going to waive the landing fees? Are the crew members going to be able to stay free overnight? Are we going to take up that cost or are the airlines going to take up that cost?” he said.

Beache further stressed that airlines will not come to St Vincent and the Grena­dines unless they can make a profit and noted that the SVGTA will be working to ensure that the process goes smoothly.

“No airline is coming here unless they can make money. No one is coming here because they have a love for St Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

“We have to make sure we do as much as possible. We take some of the risk. How much it is, we don’t know that yet, but hopefully we’ll know sooner than later. It’s an ongoing process.” (BK)