Saint Lucians now have an added option of air travel between the islands of Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent and Dominica, thanks to the new airline Trans Island Air 2000 (TIA).
TIA had its inaugural flight from the island to Grenada with a delegation headed by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet on July 3.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the airline Bruce Kauffman said the airline, whose Caribbean base is Barbados, is committed to working in the interest of Caribbean aviation.
“To other carriers in the region, we say that we are entirely focused on our mission. It is our intention to exemplify the new buzz phrase in the lexicon of Caribbean aviation company ‘competition through co-operation.’ In the context of Caribbean aviation, we recognise the adage, ‘the high tide lifts all boats’. It is a defining truism,” he said.
The CEO informed that travellers can reserve flights online through a “state-of-the-art reservation system” or in person through contracted travel agents. There is also the option of reservations directly with the TIA reservations office.
The carrier offers scheduled flights but also has a private charter option to 15 Caribbean destinations within a radius of 800 miles.
“Principally, for that mission, we have acquired a seven-passenger Beech King Air executive transport aircraft. By the end of November Trans Island Air will upgrade its schedule charter service to fully scheduled service. The advantages of this are firstly, our seed inventory will be more widely available to the global distribution systems. Secondly, we’ll be able to enter into inter-line agreements with major carriers through ticketing from origins such as London, Atlanta or New York, through hub airports such as Hewenorra, Grenada or Barbados,” he said.
Prime Minister Chastanet welcomed the airline as he believes it will enhance business travel.
“Probably today is a great example of the immediate impact of having TIA here. The alternative route to get to Grenada today would have taken us eight hours. So instead I was able to stay here this morning and complete Cabinet and still now able to go to Grenada. And I think that many business people are going to be very grateful for the services to Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica,” he said.
Chastanet added that the aspect of hub airports, which facilitate travel through international flights to Dominica and soon to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is beneficial.
“The other aspect of your business which is the hubbing, and being able to facilitate international travel through our international flights to Dominica and hopefully very soon to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, really is something that we have aspired for,” he said.
TIA currently operates a 12-passenger Beech 99 Turboprop aircraft and by September will add a 19-seat Twin Otter to its fleet.
The carrier also has plans to begin flights from the Hewanorra International Airport to the Canefield Ariport in Dominica from October 23, 2017. This is to provide connections for travellers from the US, United Kingdom and other continents.