PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands – InterCaribbean Airways has cancelled planned services to St Thomas and St Croix in the US Virgin Islands (USVI).
In a statement in which it said it was announcing the decision “with a heavy heart”, the Turks and Caicos-based carrier said it had been working for months to complete the necessary USVI filings to add flights to the territory, but an “unusually lengthy” process caused the company to redeploy the aircraft that had been sent to Tortola in readiness for the flights, into “other operations and growth opportunities.”
“We operate in 13 countries and have not faced the prolonged or protracted challenges of setting up an operation timely in any country,” it noted. “We wish to acknowledge we have seen the 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.”
InterCaribbean Airways also said it was confronted with handling costs in the USVI that were three to four times the norm across its 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, for we will not see support from the traveling public,” it said.
The airline said it has decided to postpone its plans to “give time and opportunity to consider other options to create effective partner handling, and for all authorities to take all the time needed”.