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35 years of experience guides VAS daily

35 years of experience guides VAS daily

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Over the last 35 years, persons traveling by air to and from St. Vincent and the Grenadines would have at sometime in their travel encountered either the name or the person of George Francis.

In fact, he is somewhat of a fixture in the business having started in the days when the now defunct John H. Hazells Company ran the air travel business in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. That was back in the 60’s. {{more}}

At that time, there were only two LIAT flights per day which made it necessary for him and his co-workers to leave their Kingstown office to receive and dispatch the flights then return to their office in Kingstown to continue handling reservations.

Later in the 70’s LIAT took over the running of its operation appointing the late Roddy Grant as Manager. George was to succeed him years later.

In 2000, George was invited by co-founders of Vincy Aviation Services (VAS) Roddy Grant and Ricardo Drayton to join their new venture as a Director.

George said the operations have become increasingly challenging in light of high and rising fuel charges, rising rent charges for office space, all these resulting in very high overhead costs.

These impediments coupled with excessive delays being experienced in getting authorization for new fares from the local Transport Board often hinder the operation from responding in a timely fashion to changes in the marketplace.

The procedure requires that proposed new fares are submitted to the Transport Board who has the authority to approve or reject the fares.

Francis is contending that his main competitor LIAT now has a fare of US$22 and wonders whether that fare was submitted and approved by the Transport Board.

Francis is demanding that there be more transparency and equity in this fare authorization process.

George also stated that he grapples with an airport environment in dire need of improvement.

‘The Ramp is too congested,’ Francis said, ‘increasing the chances of an accident.’ This means that stringent safety requirements have to be adhered to at all times.

Of additional concern to Manager Francis, is the baggage screening system that has been installed for quite a while now but is not used.

With this system, all bags being loaded onto a flight would be X-rayed for security purposes. Because the system is not operational, Vincy Aviation attracts additional overhead costs because the security firm of Guardsman is employed to search any baggage to be put onto Caribbean Sun flights. This is a U.S. security requirement.

Looking ahead, Manager Francis says VAS is willing to expand its services once the conditions at the airport improve. This would see an increase in staff giving additional employment opportunities.

Outlining the company’s aims, Francis catalogued them as follows:-

Provide excellent customer service, provide the best ground handling service available at E.T. Joshua, and provide adequate and relevant training for all employees in a good working environment using modern technology where appropriate.

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