Thursday, December 12, 2019

Saint Lucia Addressing Fallout From Virgin Atlantic Pullout

Saint Lucia’s Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee has issued a statement following the announcement by Virgin Atlantic  that it will be ceasing flights here in June next year.

In the statement, Fedee alluded to a multi-million dollar subsidy requested by the airline and indicated that the government is proactively seeking to address the fallout from the carrier’s departure.

The full text of the Minister’s statement is reproduced below:

Over the past months, the Government of St. Lucia has been in talks with Virgin Atlantic as it relates to the airline’s flights to our destination.

During those talks, Virgin indicated to local tourism officials that in order to continue operating its existing five flights weekly in the winter months, and three in the off season summer months, it would require EC$20 million or USD7.5 million over three years.

Two other options were presented to us which would mean a significant reduction in Virgin Atlantic flights to our shores and did not present the best return on a potential investment.

It is our strong belief that agreeing to Virgin Atlantic’s demands for a multimillion dollar subsidy, would have opened the door for other airlines to also ask for subsidy.

In fact, upon hearing the news that Virgin Atlantic has requested subsidies from four Caribbean governments, namely Grenada, Tobago, Antigua and St. Lucia, other airlines have been in talks with respective governments.

While the Government of Saint Lucia appreciates the need for governments to share the financial risk on new flights until the maturing of the route, Virgin’s requests goes against our principle having been in Saint Lucia for 21 years.

Saint Lucia presently supports Virgin Atlantic flights with marketing agreements annually but presently has no subsidy arrangements with any airline in any other tourism market. Virgin Atlantic represents seven percent of total UK arrivals.

To proactively address any fallout that may arise from the cancellation of the Virgin Atlantic
flights, the Government of Saint Lucia has been in very fruitful discussions with other carriers and has received very good feedback from at least one other airline to increase capacity from the UK Market in the very near future.

Year to date, May 2019, Saint Lucia has recorded an 18% growth from the UK market over the same period last year.

We anticipate even further growth with our restructured marketing thrust to maximize more of our marketing spend on Brand Saint Lucia.

From all indications, the demand for Saint Lucia in the UK Market among Caribbean destinations is second only to Barbados and continues to be one of the most aspirational Caribbean destinations for UK travelers.

We will continue to dialogue with Virgin Atlantic to arrive at a possible mutually beneficial
relationship sometime in the future.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Seems a good start Mr Fedee, but please do not part with any of St Lucia’s foreign exchange reserve. Least it is squandered on tricksters and shysters who will still pull out of st Lucia at the drop of a hat should in their opinion a more appealing destination be found.

    • I also would also like to hear Virgin’s version of what is happening. This guy has a propensity to tell tall tales. Caught him in too many untruths.

  2. O well . 20 million over 3yrs a lot cheaper when you consider Chastanet was paying American 20 + per year when Pierre put a stop to it. Now AA has three flights per day nice BUT AT WHAT COST ? JET BLUE how much ? AIR CANADA how much ? BRITISH AIRWAYS how much ? This is why we really can’t feel the trickle down effects of tourism all when they brag about how many visitors come down and bla bla bla when the government paying millions to ONE AIRLINE alone those millions could do so much for the country elevate the pressure off working poor fix up the schools health care fix up the roads stop borrowing left right and center but what can we do we at their mercy we don’t have our own planes like Trinidad we could have Hellen Air which was a great vision but some of us got full of our selves got insubordinate and got cast away like Lucifer from the Garden of Eden in earnest was driven to become todays political menace with a vague copacetic ideology of a vision and destiny as to where this country should be. O well. The big fish always eat the little fish

  3. Let virgin go if they care too… People will still travel out of the UK.. We ain’t paying that kind of money and these UK airlines are always PACKED for take off….

  4. Well Well I don’t know what to say.. the only sensible option is for Virgin to limit its 5 flights to St Lucia per week. But I guess, its gotten greedy and want to make up for the shortfall in passengers by going to clueless ill-educated Caribbean governments asking for more money. And it hopes it will succeed. If Virgin feels that it can survive from black laundered money awash in the London capital and does not require any profits to survive, then fine. Branson can go. The only reason why I fly them over BA, is because the BA airlines are too old and rickety. So I dont like the feel. Simple solution, take a cheaper flight to any US destination and I am home in a jiffy. Dont fork Virgin, we are located right next door to the US, we can get home at any time we want. A late night flight from london to Miami, will be much cheaper. by early morning, I am relaxing in any Caribbean city in about two hours or less. Shove it Virgin!

  5. Bible in a Year
    July 27
    New Testament Verse of the Day:
    For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
    –Hebrews 4:12

  6. Forget Virgin Atlantic
    I have noticed the whole organisation has gone down hill
    They are lossing money ,due to bad practise and poor customer care
    In all areas of their business
    I will close shop on everything Virgin
    And as Caribbeans
    We should leave virgin Atlantic
    And go else where
    We a currently far too much to visit our home country
    Don’t give them any more money
    Let’s start to hold our ground
    Enough is enough

Comments are closed.

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