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PM explains shortfalPM explains shortfall in revenue for AIA chartersl in revenue for AIA charters

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A shortfall of $692,972 was incurred by the Government when it chartered airlines to fly into St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) for the opening of the Argyle International Airport (AIA) on February 14.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves made the disclosure in Parliament on Tuesday, in response to a question from Leader of the Opposition Dr Godwin Friday.

“Mr Speaker, the total cost for the airlines on the February 14th was $986,775. The proceeds of the sales of the ticket was $293,803, a shortfall of $692, 972,” the Prime Minister stated.

However, he explained that the money used to pay for the charters came from the budget of the [SVG] Tourism Authority, which has a role in promoting the country.

The Prime Minister said a policy decision had been taken in relation to the promotion of the AIA and there was never an intention that the exercise would break even.

The Prime Minister said as a consequence of the promotions, there have been several developments which have taken place in relation to the airport, such as the twice per week operation of Caribbean Airlines, which could not have happened at the ET Joshua airport.

“To do the turnaround within an hour in Trinidad would require a certainty that the plane would get in and leave on time and 25 per cent of the times the ATR 72’s couldn’t land or take off on time, or with the full load, because of the wind factor and other limitations at ET Joshua.”

Gonsalves added that there have already been announcements of direct flights from Air Canada Rouge and Easy Sky from Canada.

“We see a series of things which are opening up,” the Prime Minister said.

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