28 November, 2009
New opportunity for Access Tsarina opens up. Winair announced yesterday that it is ceasing its daily flights between St Maarten and
Anguilla effective 1 December. December is the peak of the tourism season for Anguilla. What does this tell us about Winair's views on our tourism prospects? The industry is very important to us. Now that marijuana exports are banned, we have very few other crops to reap besides tourists.
Have you studied the American Eagle recently reorganized service between Puerto Rico and
Anguilla? The flight arrives in Anguilla in the mid-afternoon, meaning that only travelers from the Eastern Seaboard of the United States are able to use it to access Anguilla in one day. Visitors from Canada, the Mid-west, and the Pacific coast require an overnight stop in Miami or San Juan to be able to get to Anguilla, if they use . For those of us in Anguilla who were previously accustomed to make a medical appointment with our doctor in San Juan San Juan, go up in the early morning, and then return to Anguilla in the late evening, the present service is a disaster. We cannot accomplish anything in one day. We must go to the day before our appointment, then overnight again to be able to catch the flight the following afternoon. The service stinks. The cost for a return ticket on the Eagle to San Juan is over US$300.00, plus at least US$200 for the hotel room, while the return ticket from New York to St Maarten costs less than US$400.00. San Juan
Anyone who over the last year has accessed Anguilla via
on American Airlines or via St Maarten on Winair had to have been very badly advised. I am sure that very little business will be lost to Anguilla if they are both discontinued. No properly advised international traveler should do otherwise than go directly to St Maarten, then catch either a ferry or one of the small, easily arranged non-scheduled airlines that do the 6 minute flight to Anguilla. San Juan
Of the scheduled airlines, only LIAT, God help us, provides a decent air service into or out of
Anguilla to anywhere else. I doubt that many persons will be inconvenienced by the loss of the Winair connection. What Winair did not mention in its end of service notice was that this flight to St Maarten was probably one of the most expensive flights anywhere in the world, mile for mile.
Does anybody know how many of our hard-earned dollars went to support the last venture between Puerto Rico and
Anguilla? Will the figures of public funds expended on this project ever come out? Does the previously announced financial commitment by the government to subsidizing that service continue even now in times of hardship?
Given our government’s penchant for supporting over-the-top, hare-brained enterprises promoted by party supporters and hangers-on, one can only imagine what opportunities our Access Tsarina and her cronies are looking at for the future expenditure of public funds.