According to the chairman of the British Virgin Islands Airport Authority (BVIAA), Bevis Sylvester, the talks are being held to ensure that the territory is not left disadvantaged.
“We are currently in heightened discussions with InterCaribbean Airlines and Caribbean Airlines, with the hope that those two private partners will be able to expand their BVI routes beyond the pre-COVID structure so that we can quickly fill the void left behind by LIAT.”
Sylvester, in a recent statement, said the BVIAA is “more than ever cognizant” of the need to expand the runway at the territory’s main airport on Beef Island.
He said such an expansion will significantly boost local tourism and “will mean more jobs, both in the short and long- term, for Islanders”.
“This expansion of our capacity is based on projections for future use, as international travelers will be clamoring for destinations that are safe from the pandemic, or at least destinations that have proven themselves capable of managing or containing COVID-19,” Sylvester added.
In a statement last month, Premier Andrew Fahie announced that representatives from Caribbean Airlines had visited the Beef Island airport “intending to add the BVI to their route network”.
“COVID-19 has, expectedly, thrown the timetables off, but we are confident that once air travel and tourism begins reawakening, these initiatives will resume,” he then said.
LIAT has been challenged with the COVID-19 pandemic and a review of the state of the airline has shown that the airline is “unable to pay its debts”.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, the Chairman of the airline’s four major shareholder governments – Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Barbados, and St Vincent & the Grenadines — said they will be convening a meeting “to consider the closure of the airline.