Airlift to Nevis may be more difficult to schedule during the holidays due to Liat flight cancellations, but overall flight traffic is expected to pick up after the first two weeks of the new year with the addition of Seaborne Airlines flights. All Liat flights from Antigua to Nevis are cancelled from Tuesday, Dec. 3 . through Tuesday, Jan. 14. “I want to assure the general public that there will be no interruption in our ability to get from Antigua to Nevis,’said Mark Brantley, minister of tourism for the Nevis Island Administration. “We do not wish to lose Liat, but at the same time, we realize Liat is going through technical difficulties.”No airline has committed to the Antigua-Nevis route, but Brantley said he’s discussed it with several companies. Prospective carriers include SVG Air, Fly Montserrat Airlines and Tradewind Airlines. At a town hall meeting on Thursday, Nov. 7, he told the public that the possible interruption would come at ‘the worst possible time for us’since it’s concurrent with Christmas travel and the start of the tourism season. In a letter dated Friday, Nov. 1, Liat informed the NIA of its decision to suspend holiday service. On Tuesday, Nov. 5, many of the airline’s flights were canceled due to a pilots’ strike organized by the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association. Brantley said the airline’s decision to suspend flights was no reflection on Nevis. “Equipment problems and personnel problems: Those are the reasons they told us,”he said. Seaborne Airlines to launch 34-seat flights to Nevis Although the Antigua-Nevis route appears in jeopardy, the San Juan-Nevis route will see increased traffic in January. A 34-seat Seaborne Airlines jet will begin servicing Nevis by way of St. Kitts on Wednesday, Jan. 15. The flight takes about an hour and 45 minutes, including a 20-minute stop in Basseterre. The introductory rate for a one-way flight between the two cities is $129, although some restrictions apply. Apparently, international interest in the Nevis-San Juan route is growing. Tradewind Airlines, a low-capacity luxury carrier out of Oxford, Conn., began servicing the route in early November. That interest is good for Nevis tourism, Brantley explained. “San Juan provides a major hub,”he said. “Wherever you’re coming from in the United States, you can get to San Juan.”The NIA continues to solicit airlines to develop Nevis routes. The process typically involves a coalition of concerned parties. “It’s definitely a public/private sector project,”Brantley said. “We have the traffic. It’s just a matter of getting an airline to commit.”The government has offered a seat guarantee to Seaborne. The airline requires monthly ticket sales to average out to at least 15 passengers per flight. If that average falls below 15 passengers, the NIA has committed to pay the difference. Brantley said he doesn’t expect the seat guarantee agreement to become a problem, but he noted, the Nevisian consumer will determine that outcome. At the town hall meeting, he issued an imperative: “It is your airport; it is your airlift,”he said. “Use it and encourage others to use it so we can get the life injected back into the Vance Amory International Airport.