BVI lifts suspension on One Caribbean Airlines
The suspension preventing One Caribbean Airlines’ flights to the Virgin Islands has been lifted following the conclusion that there was no intent on the airline’s part to break COVID-19 protocols.
Chief Executive Officer of the OCL Barbados Ltd/One Caribbean Ltd Airlines, Reginald Adams, told SEARCHLIGHT that he received a letter on the morning of Sunday, August 23, informing that the suspension had been lifted.
The suspension had been in effect for eight days, he noted.
Previously, the British Virgin Islands Airport Authority (BVIAA) had issued a notice stating that One Caribbean’s Foreign Operator’s Permit (FOP) was indefinitely suspended following a flight landing at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on August 4, without the necessary requirements.
It was stated that this essentially means that the airline would not be allowed into the Territory during the period of suspension.
The Virgin Islands News Online reported on Saturday, August 22, that as part of the entry requirements, the Government protocols outline that there should be 24 hours’ notice of all passengers on board the aircrafts approved to arrive in the territory.
“Any violation of the Government or the Authority’s protocols will not be taken lightly, as the wellbeing of our residents and citizens, our internal economy and the successful rebound of our economy post-COVID-19 is reliant on our ability to keep the BVI COVID-19 free,” the Managing Director of the BVIAA, Clive Smith, was quoted as saying.
Yesterday, August 24, CEO Adams explained that One Caribbean has been operating flights to the islands, including Tortola, Cuba, Santo Domingo, Dominica, St Vincent, Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia, Trinidad, during the time of COVID-19.
He said that all of the countries update their protocols weekly, and “we’ve been having to operate on all these islands and track all the protocols as they change.”
“Tortola changed their protocol on a Saturday and we were not updated as to the change,” Adams noted. Among the passengers on the One Caribbean flight that operated the Monday following this change, were three employees of the Tortola Government, which the Airline had permission for. However, due to the protocol change one of these employees was not accepted and had to return.
One Caribbean maintains that there was no notice of a change of protocol; such was not able to be provided, and following their objection to the suspension, and putting forward of a defense, the suspension had now been lifted.
“COVID is a tough time,” the CEO admitted, adding “we’re operating out of eight countries and eight countries are changing their policies every week.”