Following several reports of last-minute cancellations of flights to the British Virgin Islands on InterCaribbean Airways, the regional airline has said that the many cancellations are due to the Turks and Caicos’ Civil Aviation Authority yet to approve their newly acquired aircraft as originally anticipated.
This was revealed in a statement issued by InterCaribbean dated December 19, where Chairman of the airline Lyndon Gardiner addressed the reason behind the many cancellations which he said not only has affected the BVI, but also many of the other islands in the eastern and western Caribbean hubs.
He said InterCaribbean acquired an ATR42 aircraft, which has the capacity of seating 48 passengers, that was delivered in July this year with the intention of putting it in service on the routes out of Tortola.
Gardiner said the introduction of the new aircraft would have released its E120 aircraft to fly routes out of airports with longer runways, a necessary step as the airline recently started additional routes between Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, and Dominica.
“The airline expected to have this new aircraft online in time for the holiday traffic increase, however, the aircraft named the Hugo M in honor of their own veteran Capt Hugo Mendez, is a new type for the Turks and Caicos and is still in the necessary approvals process by the local Civil Aviation Authority,” the release read.
InterCaribbean made temporary arrangements to resolve issues
A spokesperson on behalf of the airlines said that when the holidays approached with no approval insight, the company made arrangements to wet-lease a Bombardier CRJ regional jet from a Canadian airline to operate on the Northern Caribbean routes in the meantime.
Chairman Gardiner said that his airline will be sparing no expense to ensure the company gets back to performing at the level they need to be.
He said, “It was an expensive solution, but we felt it was worth the extra cost to live up to our commitments to our passengers… We feel the pain of our passengers with every delay, and are sparing no expense in doing our utmost to return to our normal on-time performance level.”
According to InterCaribbean, the leased aircraft arrived last week, and following local and regional approvals was able to begin flights late on Saturday December 18.