Steady reduction of traffic affecting viability of George FL Charles Airport, says official

Steady reduction of traffic affecting viability of George FL Charles Airport, says official

“It has not been an easy task to manage the profitability of the George FL Charles Airport.”

That’s according to manager of the Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority, SLASPA, Sean Matthew. He was at the time addressing the business community on the revised approach to redeveloping the Hewanorra International Airport and commensurate commercial opportunities.

In a comprehensive presentation on both airports, the SLASPA head said over the past 10 years there has been a steady reduction in the amount of traffic at the George FL Charles Airport.

“What this shows is our passenger movement from 2002 to 2012 – a 10-year horizon that has shown a steady decline in the utilization of the airport and the utilization of passengers. Obviously in 2006/ 07 we lost Caribbean Star. LIAT attempted to put additional flights that didn’t work. We had the loss of American Eagle on August 21, 2012 and we continue to manage a LIAT operation which has moved from six flights a day to ten, whereas we previously had in excess of 55 flights a day.”

In spite of reduced profitability, Matthew said the airport has to meet internationally acceptable standards.

“Clearly this is something that we, meaning SLASPA, have to mange because once you operate an aerodrome all the safety factors must be in place. There is no way you can allow one plane to land without having the prerequisites required to at least safely land that plane,” he said.

SLASPA, he said, has employed various measures to deal with the viability issues of the Vigie located aerodrome such as a reduction in the airport’s operating hours and a downsizing in personnel.

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22 COMMENTS

  1. responding to 'son of helen' do u know how many years it would take to construct a hyway from gros islet to vfort ... atleast 15 years from now , do u think vigie airport can last this long... by dat time LIAT itself may not last this long,,, prime min Kenny.. now dat de gov wants to 1st repave HIA~runway: When will we see a New H.I.A Terminal start ..we need it ASAP ..

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  2. I am torn on this one, because I do recall Vigie being used to get tourists (mostly) to HIA after Hurricane Tomas, but Vigie has been a liability ever since American Eagle pulled out.
    However it would be logical to construct the North-South hwy first in case of another Tomas. That hwy should be tolled so that it can pay for itself, I do believe most people would use it as it would cut down on travel time and save on petrol. That's my 2.5 cents.

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    • But how to build this new hwy and not destroy the land along with all the little creatures, hereby offsetting the natural equilibrium...is the big question. A skillful dance between preserving the ecosystem and development is truly warranted, otherwise, there'll be no future, just another deforested Haiti in the Eastern Caribbean.

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  3. imagine i think u guys hv said more on the subject than the ministers in gov't. Its amazing weh de minister of tourism, econmics and port services saying to us lucians. Dem busy campaigning, I guess dere is nuttin dere to point fingers at chastanent, king nor guy for. Maybe dem hv not dec iding hw to blame the closure on UWP yet. WOW BETTER DAYS, less flights, higher prices WAT NEXT

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  4. Discussions by SLASPA isn't enough but its a start.. the policy makers namely Gov ministers need to pay attention & do the sensible thing Close Vigie Aport . Look @ barbados with 1 airport which is also a Regional Hub - the gov need revenue & private sector investmemts A.s.a.p the Vigie lands provides so much opportunities $$$$ (that is) sea views u know how much ex-pats are willing to pay to live & open biz there ??
    Vigie airport in its prime perhaps made annually $30 million - just think of what can replace this runway .. HOTELS,SHOPPING CENTRES,CONDOS , RESTAURANTS, RESIDENTIAL APARTMENTS,BEACH BOARDWALKS, MINI MARINA, CONFERENCE CENTRES & RENTAL OFFICES, INDOOR ARTS/MUSIC THEATRE ** just to name a few ideas u know how much money can come from these developments?? Dozens of millions annually not to mention The Hundreds ofl new jobs created as well

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  5. We need to hear from Lorne (tourism) on this matter. We need to attract tourist from the caribbean too but what do we have to offer them. Our people cannot afford to travel

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  6. @ "K" brilliant comment...those on this board who are advocating for the closure of George FL Charles, have no clue of what they are stating..just silly and ill-informed comments backed by party hacks who are like wolves trying to lick the back-sides of interest persons if this were to happen.

    But it will NEVER HAPPEN.

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  7. sean please tell the people how much money vigie is costing us every month to maintain with no returns.millions every month,how long an we continue to pay?when we dead broke?economics at its best.

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    • This has never been politically expedient for any government to come to grips with.... the eventual closure of GFL. The country's meager resources are being spent to keep this "drainer" afloat only to service the "business persons" and the bougoiszz of Castries. The time has come to do the BEST and MOST ECONOMICALLY viable thing for Saint Lucia. CLOSE GGL CHARLES and direct resources to HIA

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    • What is stupid? is it you or the comments? Big countries with more resources laugh at us for maintaining 2 airports in a 238 sq. mile island. Does that make sense to you? I remember having a conversation with a resident of Castries who informed me that "Vieux-Fort" is to far to travel. BULLSHIT....when we go to the USA we travel for hours to reach JFK or any other airport with no complaints and to do make the sacrifice for our own country we complaining please. Kenny has to take the harsh and not too popular decisions NOW for the betterment of our country in the long term. CLOSE GFL CHARLES

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  8. Should the Gov choose to close down vigie airport - that would free up several acres of prime flat beach front land adjacemt to both the capital & a highway : i mean just think of the revenue Gov cam amass just from selling some not all - these lands to investors & expanding castries city as well. Esp in these economic times - we deserve a gov with inovative, unconventional decisions to jump start slu economy .. its been 7 yrs now with almost NO NEW HOTELS built while we peddle for 15 flights a day with Liat acct for 10 daily flights -- when 12 yrs ago Vigie had 55 flights daily - dats my 2cents on this matter - common cents if u as me - no pun intended

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    • And building hotels will expand the economy how exactly? We can't fill existing rooms, yet you want to add more. No wonder this country is going nowhere.

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      • This is the only comment that should be heard. You must fill the hotels you have now, and, stop selling the land to developers. You are spoiling our Island. We can not afford to close the 2 airports to build a new one. Fix up the ones we have now, so that WHEN the WORLDS economy picks up we will still have 2 working airports, with our natural landscape still in tact.

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    • I agree with you wholeheartedly. We must stop being pound wise and penny foolish. Lets give Kudos to the government for now having the political gonads to even begin discussion on this matter. HIA has been sitting like a white elephant since its last renovations with most of the activity on a Saturday and Sunday. In this harsh economic climate, tough decisions must be made if we want to avoid the jaws of the IMF and to save our country from future woes. BRAVO SLASPA, commence the discussion. Anticipate that there will be strong opposition from the business community and the "petty bourgeois" but its a cry over nothing, they understand and they will get used to the idea of no "more comfort zone". This is tough times which requires tough measures.

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  9. VF eh working for people and hotels in the north. GFL eh working for people in the south. Build an airport in the AnselaRaye/Canaries and close the other 2.

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  10. yes stlucia cannot maintain two airports.we need to close vigie and release these ancillary service back to the city,i mean the fire trucks and ambulances we have on stanby all the time.

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  11. Re Hewanorra Airport, jetways need to be constructed so passengers do not have to walk down the steps to get to the terminal. Many people have a difficult time doing this.

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  12. THERE IS NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT WE NEED THE NEW AIRPORT IN V-FORT AND WE WILL NOW CLOSE GFL CHARLES AIRPORT.IT IS DEFINITELY STRAINING US WE CAN NOT AFFORD IT.THE FOREIGNERS VISITING IS PAYING FOR THE NEW AIRPORT.WE NEED HIA REBUILT STOP PLAYING POLITICS WILL EVERYTHING KENNY.

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