Tuesday 31 March, 2020

Fedee: Not paying Virgin subsidy vindicated by British Airways flights

Tourism Minsiter Dominic Fedee has expressed vindication after the Government of Saint Lucia refused to pay Virgin Atlantic subsidies in order for the airline to remain in Saint Lucia.

Fedee made the disclosure to local journalists Monday as he touted developments in the airlift sector.

British carrier, Virgin Atlantic will no longer be servicing Saint Lucia, effective June 8, 2020, after Saint Lucia failed to pay an EC$20 million subsidy to the airline.

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The airline has been servicing flights between Saint Lucia and London Gatwick for over two decades.

“British Airways announced that it will be having two weekly flights to Saint Lucia,  in addition to the existing seven,” Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee touted.

“We are going to have an additional flight on a Wednesday of approximately 362 seats, we going to have an additional 362 seat on a Saturday. What is wonderful about these two flights, they come without tagging to Trinidad, the existing flights would either tag through Trinidad, or Grenada but it is exclusive to Saint Lucia. No doubt it came about because of the void that’s been left by Virgin Atlantic,” the minister said.

Despite the loss of Virgin Atlantic, the government, according to Fedee, remained optimistic that while the loss of the airline to the island is sad, it opened up many other opportunities.

“I feel absolutely vindicated by our decision earlier not to pay not to pay the subsidy to Virgin Atlantic and I think this is a step in the right direction and these came with no minimum return guarantee and they really came because of the confidence British Airways and other stakeholders continue to have in the Saint Lucia destination."

Additionally, Air Canada has also announced increased flights to Saint Lucia.

“An additional one flight weekly, usually it is a summer flight which would come from Toronto, but now we are going to have instead of two in the summer we are going to have three, which gives us a weekly seat capacity of 136 seats a week or roughly about 600 on a monthly basis,” Fedee noted.

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