Phoenix Airways offers The Public More Than Flying Time by Glen Bart

Chief Executive Officer Neville Gumbs says Phoenix Airways is offering something that most other carriers do not. The airline carried out its first formal flight from the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport on Wednesday using a Boeing 737. Phoenix Airways is joining a line of carriers that have started operations in the Caribbean. Some have been more successful than others, but all faced many challenges that are now typical of the aviation industry everywhere. So, what makes Phoenix Airways confident about its future prospects? “One of our biggest differences is that we do timeshare in the form of packages. Persons can purchase different packages, and it also includes ownership by shares in the airline. There are seven different packages on the Schedules, and five packages on private charters. We have teams in the different Caribbean islands reaching out to persons in communities offering the timeshare packages,”Gumbs explained. This is the uniqueness of Phoenix Airlines, allowing groups of individual to pre-purchase several flights per year per person and accrue savings. The package account holder gets shares in the company and returns at the end of the year, and each member in that group gets to fly a specified number of times each year. “With timeshare, one does not have to worry about fare hikes or what current offerings are on websites. If you have timeshare, you simply call and book then show up at the airport,’says Gumbs. “We also made it a community thing. The company was started with community people, so the small man has a chance to fly at less cost. The timeshare is not limited to persons in St. Kitts. There are people in the United States and Britain who can buy these packages as well. So when the timeshare grows, the company grows,”he pointed out as he disclosed some future plans for the airline. “We are looking to go the US ports sometime in October. Once that is approved, we’ll be going to San Juan, St. Croix and St. Thomas and hopefully next year we’ll be going direct to Miami and New York from St. Kitts and Barbados.”While the airline is promoting the package arrangement, regular ticket purchases could be made through travel agencies. Presently, Phoenix Airways is operating scheduled and chartered services. Its route structure currently includes Aruba, St. Kitts, Barbados and Santo Domingo using the Boeing 737 aircraft with 140 seats. Smaller aircraft are used for the close proximity routes involving Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, BVI and St. Maarten. Nineteen and 30-seater aircraft are used on this segment. Speaking about operations, Gumbs said the airline officially started operations with a charter flight, but he said the major operations would begin with the upcoming Caribbean Premier League T-20 games to be played in St. Kitts from August 6. “That’s when our major operations begin.”Gumbs indicated that there would be Monday and Tuesday flights into Nevis using the 19-seater Beech 1900 and the 30-seater Embraer 120 ER. The long distance flights would be operated using the 140-seat version of the Boeing 737. The Chief Executive Office said, “Phoenix Airways was founded in April 2013, to redefine Caribbean Air Travel, to exceed the expectations of modern travelers, and quite simple, to bring the ‘Fun’ back to flying. Superior service is what we’re all about.”He said a team of Caribbean Nationals, who felt there was a need for change, founded the company. The project expanded and now includes, ex and current pilots, aviation consultants and other Caribbean Nationals.

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