interCaribbean Airways announced that the planned services to St. Thomas and to St. Croix are canceled.
The airline said in a statement that it has been working for some months to have the USVI filings process completed, for which it is not possible to manage simultaneously with the setup of all other operations in parallel. Such has been the process, that other requirements to setup at the airports are unable to be advanced without this completed.
“interCaribbean over a month ago deployed an additional aircraft to Tortola in readiness for these flights but given the unusually lengthy processes to get to a starting point, it has become clear that the approval process and our priorities are not aligned”, the airline said.
interCaribbean will now redeploy the aircraft into other operations and growth opportunities.
The airline added:
“We operate in 13 countries and have not faced the prolonged or protracted challenges of setting up an operation timely in any country. We wish to acknowledge we have seen full cooperation from the CPB (Customs and Border Protection) and the TSA (Transport Security Administration) Agencies in receiving their early and timely approvals for both St Thomas and St Croix.
“A key element at any new city served is selecting a partner handling company. In the case of the USVI, we are confronted with handling costs that are three to four times the norm across our entire network of cities. We simply will not pay such outrageous prices. We cannot expect to have to double our everyday affordable low airfares to compensate, it goes against our business model and we don’t feel his will be welcomed by for we will not see support from the traveling public.
“Given the work necessary to make these cities a viable destination with airfares for which we have become known, we have elected to postpone until the winter season of this year 2018 and give time and opportunity to consider other options to create effective partner handling, and for all authorities to take all the time needed. Should we find a satisfactory point”.