Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:53 pm

It's about three years since the Argyle International Airport was opened with great fanfarre by its PM, Ralph Goncalves.
Only three new routes have been opened since then, namely Miami (2 AA frequencies per week), Toronto and New York (by Air Canada Rouge and CAL, once a week each). The excuse to build this airport was to accomodate bigger airplanes than otherwise would make travelers go through other airports such as POS or BGI, adding undesirable connecting time to their travels. It was promised at the time that this airport would attract large amounts of tourism to the nation-island, which would help the local economy, also by making the transportation of raw goods such as fish something easier.
I asked SVD management for figures of the number of persons entering through SVG and how this compares to those figures in the previous airport (E.T. Joshua regional airport). Nonetheless, my petition was denied, they told me after a long wait of several weeks that I had to go through my embassy in order to get those figures.Seems to me that increase in tourist income has been neglectable during the past three years. Simply the same people (SVG diaspora and tourists) that wanted to go there are doing it in a more direct fashion, but no big airlines such as BA, Virgin, Condor, DL, UA, JetBlue, WestJet, Sunwing, Spirit and the like have been attracted by the siren songs of improved connectivity and better facilities at AIA. All other flights could be easily accomodated in the old airport, as they are flown with ATRs and such. Many observators think that the building of this airport was a political stunt, as it took 6 additional years to be completed over the original completion date, 9 years after breaking ground. Please bear in mind that the airport's construction represents the biggest capital spending in the short lived island-nation's history, which is burdened heavily in debt. Rumour has it that many loans were taken by Gonsalves administration under obscure circumstances to friendly countries: Venezuela, Cuba, Taiwan, Turkey, Mexico, Austria, Georgia, Libya and Iran, or the "coalition of the willing" as the PM liked to call it. There is enough room to believe that among those soft loans, lots of money were diverted to offshore accounts in the Caribbean, if you know what I mean.
Appreciate your comments
Last edited by Alejo6 on Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Murdoughnut
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:27 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:03 pm

I don't know the circumstances at SVD, but airport infrastructure is only once piece - albeit probably the most important piece. Would need to lean heavily upon whatever convention and visitors bureau exists on the island to promote leisure travel. Would probably want to see healthy charter service before scheduled service could come come around that was leisure oriented.
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:19 pm

Murdoughnut wrote:
I don't know the circumstances at SVD, but airport infrastructure is only once piece - albeit probably the most important piece. Would need to lean heavily upon whatever convention and visitors bureau exists on the island to promote leisure travel. Would probably want to see healthy charter service before scheduled service could come come around that was leisure oriented.


I do know, as my home country, that is arguably the fastest impoverishing country in the world -Venezuela-, was one of the biggest lenders to this project.

There have been some attempts to connect CCS with SVG, none of them come to fruit. Funny enough, there were connected once via PMV and then connecting to DOM briefly.

The route was cancelled short afterwards, most likely due to commercial failure, being SVG and Venezuela two countries with little cultural ties (as well as with DOM), being the only reason to connect these three the PetroCaribe agreement back in the days (Venezuela subsidizing oil to neighboring countries, mostly in the Caribbean).

It's funny, not to say other word, than being the main lender to build an airport in a country that you have no connecting flights seems more than an act of selflessness, sheer stupidity.
Of course there is always the geopolitical agenda behind... And some corruption, too...
 
caribny
Posts: 444
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:47 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:00 pm

Alejo6 wrote:
It's about three years since the Argyle International Airport was opened with great fanfarre by its PM, Ralph Goncalves.
Only three new routes have been opened since then, namely Miami (2 AA frequencies per week), Toronto and New York (by Air Canada Rouge and CAL, once a week each). The excuse to build this airport was to accomodate bigger airplanes than otherwise would make travelers go through other airports such as POS or BGI, adding undesirable connecting time to their travels. It was promised at the time that this airport would attract large amounts of tourism to the nation-island, which would help the local economy, also by making the transportation of raw goods such as fish something easier.
I asked SVD management for figures of the number of persons entering through SVG and how this compares to those figures in the previous airport (E.T. Joshua regional airport). Nonetheless, my petition was denied, they told me after a long wait of several weeks that I had to go through my embassy in order to get those figures.Seems to me that increase in tourist income has been neglectable during the past three years. Simply the same people (SVG diaspora and tourists) that wanted to go there are doing it in a more direct fashion, but no big airlines such as BA, Virgin, Condor, DL, UA, JetBlue, WestJet, Sunwing, Spirit and the like have been attracted by the siren songs of improved connectivity and better facilities at AIA. All other flights could be easily accomodated in the old airport, as they are flown with ATRs and such. Many observators think that the building of this airport was a political stunt, as it took 6 additional years to be completed over the original completion date, 9 years after breaking ground. Please bear in mind that the airport's construction represents the biggest capital spending in the short lived island-nation's history, which is burdened heavily in debt. Rumour has it that many loans were taken by Gonsalves administration under obscure circumstances to friendly countries: Venezuela, Cuba, Taiwan, Turkey, Mexico, Austria, Georgia, Libya and Iran, or the "coalition of the willing" as the PM liked to call it. There is enough room to believe that among those soft loans, lots of money were diverted to offshore accounts in the Caribbean, if you know what I mean.
Appreciate your comments



https://eccb-centralbank.org/

You can get tourism data from there if you search around the site. Arrivals for 2018 are up 3k from the USA from 2016 levels, with Canada up 2k. 2019 also showed increased arrivals from these markets for the 1st 3 quarters.

Problem with SVG is that they lack hotel rooms and without an airport they cannot get these rooms, and until they do service will be limited. SVG will remain a niche market as the main island isnt of the sun sand and sea type, while the Grenadines can be more readily accessed via BGI. The old airport had tail wind issues which even impacted LIAT so I wouldn't say that the new airport has been completely useless. Vincentians long blamed LIAT for poor service and baggage issues and often this was due to adverse conditions at the old airport.
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:54 pm

caribny wrote:
https://eccb-centralbank.org/
You can get tourism data from there if you search around the site. Arrivals for 2018 are up 3k from the USA from 2016 levels, with Canada up 2k. 2019 also showed increased arrivals from these markets for the 1st 3 quarters.


Thanks for the data!!! It's very revealing!! What data shows is that actually there was a spike in incoming tourists since 2017 (the year the airport was open). That spike was of almost 90k pax/yr (+36%), comparing the average of 2017-2018 vs. 2000-2016. Nonetheless, if you compare it to the best year pre AIA (2006), the spike is only of about 50 k pax/yr vs. 2018, the best year in the AIA era so far with data available (+21%). Nonetheless, if you drill down the data, when you compare the traveler expediture, the spike was only of 41M EC$ (+18%). Here's when it gets interesting, comparing to the best year (2006), inflation aside, against best year post AIA (2018), the traveler expenditure actually dropped 24M EC$ (-8%). Moreover, if you go further into the data, you will find that stayover passengers actually DROPPED in the past two years vs. 2000-2016 average: 78k vs 79k, -1k (-1%). Again, comparing to the best year in the ET Joshua Airport, the stayover passengers reached 97 k pax, 17k more than 2018, the best year since AIA opening. To undestand this, you have to go to the cruise and yatch data, there you will find the explanation: in the 2017-2018 period, the average cruise&yatch visitors average was 250 k, vs. 154k in 2000-2016, which means that actually all the increase (+95k) comes from C&Y visitors. If you check the cruise calls, there has been an spike of about 60 per year in 2017-2018 (average) vs. 2002-2016 (last data available). So in short, all the increase in visitors has come from the C&Y industry, not the AIA surplus. That's what comrade Ralph doesn't want you to know! Airport cost was 700M EC$. At this pace, the airport will pay itself by 2034, asuming no interest and that incremental TE is 100% profit!
 
User avatar
ADent
Posts: 1114
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:11 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:20 am

SVD is Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Looks like it is 9,000 ft runway.
 
DLPMMM
Posts: 2281
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 12:34 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:32 am

ADent wrote:
SVD is Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Looks like it is 9,000 ft runway.


Thank you for a post with the basic information.

For others: If you are posting about a minor airport, please spell it out once before using codes.

I could not figure out if they were talking about Scotland or somewhere in Canada or the Caribbean.
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:15 am

DLPMMM wrote:
ADent wrote:
SVD is Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Looks like it is 9,000 ft runway.


Thank you for a post with the basic information.

For others: If you are posting about a minor airport, please spell it out once before using codes.

I could not figure out if they were talking about Scotland or somewhere in Canada or the Caribbean.


For you: there is something called IATA code.

The beauty of it is that is unique, there are not two airports in the world with the same code.

Anyway, if you read the post, you will soon enough know what we are talking about.
I'm sorry for you...
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:27 am

ADent wrote:
SVD is Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Looks like it is 9,000 ft runway.


Also known as AIA, by its initials (Argyle International Airport). It was sold by the incumbent government as instrumental to the development of the island nation.

It suffererd several delays (it was opened 6 years after estimated completion date), which allowed the party in government to win several elections in a row, under the promise that it would be completed under their rule.

Nonetheless, as shown by figures shared below, incoming travelers numbers dropped since it was opened. Makes you wonder if it really was the cornerstone to SVG's prosperity, or just a scheme to win elections and/or divert funds to private accounts in the Caribbean.

Conviasa, Venezuela's flag carrier, has been announcing a route to SVD since last year. Nonetheless, the idea hasn't fruited. Looks like investing so much money in this airport (Venezuela was one of the major lenders for this endeavour), is not worth a connecting flight (CCS is only 685 Km away from SVD, 375 Km from PMV).
Petrodiplomacy sucks...
 
DLPMMM
Posts: 2281
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 12:34 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:07 am

Alejo6 wrote:
DLPMMM wrote:
ADent wrote:
SVD is Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Looks like it is 9,000 ft runway.


Thank you for a post with the basic information.

For others: If you are posting about a minor airport, please spell it out once before using codes.

I could not figure out if they were talking about Scotland or somewhere in Canada or the Caribbean.


For you: there is something called IATA code.

The beauty of it is that is unique, there are not two airports in the world with the same code.

Anyway, if you read the post, you will soon enough know what we are talking about.
I'm sorry for you...


I am well aware of the codes...but common courtesy dictates when referencing obscure airports is to give the city name of the airport in the initial post so that most readers won’t have to either google it up, or read through the thread until someone else does the courtesy later for the OP.
 
phatfarmlines
Posts: 1534
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2001 12:06 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:12 am

Murdoughnut wrote:
I don't know the circumstances at SVD, but airport infrastructure is only once piece - albeit probably the most important piece. Would need to lean heavily upon whatever convention and visitors bureau exists on the island to promote leisure travel. Would probably want to see healthy charter service before scheduled service could come come around that was leisure oriented.


:checkmark: Not alot of Americans know about St. Vincent yet, though the town of Canouan on the island of Grenadines has gotten recent exposure with the Mandarin Oriental resort

caribny wrote:
Problem with SVG is that they lack hotel rooms and without an airport they cannot get these rooms, and until they do service will be limited.
.

:checkmark:

Alejo6 wrote:
Simply the same people (SVG diaspora and tourists) that wanted to go there are doing it in a more direct fashion, but no big airlines such as BA, Virgin, Condor, DL, UA, JetBlue, WestJet, Sunwing, Spirit and the like have been attracted by the siren songs of improved connectivity and better facilities at AIA.


DL and B6 could make SVD work with the A220. Perfect aircraft for that developing market.

Alejo6 wrote:
It's about three years since the Argyle International Airport was opened with great fanfarre by its PM, Ralph Goncalves.


And IMO, one of the nicest terminals in the Caribbean. Great incorporation of the colors of the SVG flag that blends in with the environment, retaining its Caribbean feel, and doesn't architecturally look like a bland shopping mall like the newer SXM and ANU terminals.
 
User avatar
chepos
Posts: 7273
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2000 9:40 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 6:22 am

I am a bit confused, you mention a host of airlines which you consider big such as BA, DL, WS, B6 as not serving SVD.
You don’t consider AC (Rouge is basically AC), AA or BW (a well known brand in the Eastern Caribbean) big airlines?

Either way, SVD is a small market, I can’t see DL or UA (who do not even fly to BGI) fly into SVD. B6 may be a wild card.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Fly the Flag!!!!
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:19 am

DLPMMM wrote:
I am well aware of the codes...but common courtesy dictates when referencing obscure airports is to give the city name of the airport in the initial post so that most readers won’t have to either google it up, or read through the thread until someone else does the courtesy later for the OP.


Common courtesy also estates that if you want to address a coment to an user, you can do it by quoting him, instead of just saying "to others"...

I thought that everybody around here knew so much about aviation and I was the only layman around.

In any case, I thought that the spirit of the forum (correct me if I'm wrong), is to give insightful comments on diverse topics.

Commenting just to state what the acronym means, the runway lenght, or critizing others' format doesn't look a lot like that.

Thought that you could do that by PM.

Cheers!
AP
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:41 am

phatfarmlines wrote:

And IMO, one of the nicest terminals in the Caribbean. Great incorporation of the colors of the SVG flag that blends in with the environment, retaining its Caribbean feel, and doesn't architecturally look like a bland shopping mall like the newer SXM and ANU terminals.


IMO, if the airport costed 700MEC$ and average spending only bumped 41MEC$ in average since its inception, let's asume that of that, 30% is profit, as you have to cover costs first. That means that the profit of building the airport is around 12 M EC$, which also means that the airport will pay itself, at this pace, neglecting interests subjected to debt, in more than 58 years!!! That is, by the year 2075!!

Imagine that somebody comes to you with a business idea and tells you that if you invest 259M$ today, you will recover them (not earn money, just get back what you invested today), in 58 years? Would you do it? Asuming that you are in your mid-thirties (I myself am), you might as well be dead by the time the debt is paid.

It's a very nice airport, of that I'm sure... It took 9 years to be completed, I would expect nothing less than nice. Now, one thing is to go there and visit, another thing is to live there, being a Vicentian, so you live in a poor country, and your country is burdened with debt for the rest of your life because of this endeavour.

Makes you wonder, ain't?
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:09 pm

chepos wrote:
I am a bit confused, you mention a host of airlines which you consider big such as BA, DL, WS, B6 as not serving SVD.
You don’t consider AC (Rouge is basically AC), AA or BW (a well known brand in the Eastern Caribbean) big airlines?

Either way, SVD is a small market, I can’t see DL or UA (who do not even fly to BGI) fly into SVD. B6 may be a wild card.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


RV is the low cost-no frills subsidiary. That means smaller aircraft, they fly there with a A319 in a 136 seat configuration. If you tell me that they are flying with a 767 (282 seats) I would account it as a big airline.
AA is flying also with an A319, so 124 seat configuration.
Caribbean Airlines is a regional carrier, this is their natural market. I don't consider it a big airline. Other than serving the diaspora to come visit their relatives in the islands, and provide not cheap options for leisure travelers to visit the Caribbean, I don't see it trascend. If you check their destinations outside CARICOM (JFK, MIA, MCO, FLL, YYZ), you will have to agree with me. They couldn't even hold the LHR route back in the day due to poor loading.
Please keep in mind that the idea of this airport was to manage 1.5 M passengers per year (4x its predecessor). Total visitors in 2018 were 356k (including yatch&cruise visitors, also those arriving per other airports -Canouan, Union Island, Mustique, Bequia). That means that load factor for this airport is of 24%.
 
User avatar
andrefranca
Posts: 904
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:10 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:58 pm

I honestly think it was a scam to divert $$$, when I visited St. Vincent in 2011, my LIAT flight was not even half full, the former airport was tiny and terrible, even for the caribbean, but when I saw this airport finished I felt it was an overkill.... these islands are rarely known, even here in Portugal people do not know about it (Ralph Gonçalves is of Portuguese descent and the portuguese loooove to glorify their diaspora)... I do hope the best for them though...
 
User avatar
par13del
Posts: 10335
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2005 9:14 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:25 pm

andrefranca wrote:
I honestly think it was a scam to divert $$$, when I visited St. Vincent in 2011, my LIAT flight was not even half full, the former airport was tiny and terrible, even for the caribbean, but when I saw this airport finished I felt it was an overkill.... these islands are rarely known, even here in Portugal people do not know about it (Ralph Gonçalves is of Portuguese descent and the portuguese loooove to glorify their diaspora)... I do hope the best for them though...

If we regard it as infrastructure the next step which should have been going on during building is / was promotion of the country and region.
When Eagle had a hub in San Juan those ATR's distributed a lot of traffic between the islands, locals as well as tourist, the demise created "issues" among the smaller islands. At the time it did show that the local traffic had little or no bearing on the decision by AA to cease the operation.
Grenada for example pushed to have direct flights even if paying subsidies, LIAT had reasons to push for more funding while its service still sucked.
The government made an investment, wasted a lot of time and money but the finished result is there, whether it becomes a white elephant is unknown at this time, one can only hope that they are not so financially strapped that they cannot promote themselves and their new airport capabilities. Some consolidation may be required to contribute to the greater good.
 
usflyer msp
Posts: 3794
Joined: Tue May 23, 2000 11:50 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:38 pm

Alejo6 wrote:
phatfarmlines wrote:

And IMO, one of the nicest terminals in the Caribbean. Great incorporation of the colors of the SVG flag that blends in with the environment, retaining its Caribbean feel, and doesn't architecturally look like a bland shopping mall like the newer SXM and ANU terminals.


IMO, if the airport costed 700MEC$ and average spending only bumped 41MEC$ in average since its inception, let's asume that of that, 30% is profit, as you have to cover costs first. That means that the profit of building the airport is around 12 M EC$, which also means that the airport will pay itself, at this pace, neglecting interests subjected to debt, in more than 58 years!!! That is, by the year 2075!!

Imagine that somebody comes to you with a business idea and tells you that if you invest 259M$ today, you will recover them (not earn money, just get back what you invested today), in 58 years? Would you do it? Asuming that you are in your mid-thirties (I myself am), you might as well be dead by the time the debt is paid.

It's a very nice airport, of that I'm sure... It took 9 years to be completed, I would expect nothing less than nice. Now, one thing is to go there and visit, another thing is to live there, being a Vicentian, so you live in a poor country, and your country is burdened with debt for the rest of your life because of this endeavour.

Makes you wonder, ain't?


You are looking at this the wrong way. Airports are key pieces of national infrastructure like roads and hospitals and their success cannot purely be judged on profit or passenger numbers. You have to ask questions like did it attract investment? Did it improve quality of life for locals? Sometimes infrastructure upgrades take decades to show big results but that doesn't mean it was not worth it.
 
gunnerman
Posts: 1143
Joined: Fri May 19, 2017 7:55 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:19 pm

Airports are not only expensive to build but expensive to run. Quite apart from essential maintenance and repairs to equipment, buildings and the runway, an airport which is open for, say, 18 hours a day requires people for security, check-in, baggage handling, catering, cleaning, immigration, customs, ATC, etc. Just about every Caribbean airport is underutilised, the only time I can recall an airport unable to cope was at BGI a few years ago when I experienced a BA flight having to wait for a stand when arriving mid-afternoon.
 
caribny
Posts: 444
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:47 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:12 pm

chepos wrote:
I am a bit confused, you mention a host of airlines which you consider big such as BA, DL, WS, B6 as not serving SVD.
You don’t consider AC (Rouge is basically AC), AA or BW (a well known brand in the Eastern Caribbean) big airlines?

Either way, SVD is a small market, I can’t see DL or UA (who do not even fly to BGI) fly into SVD. B6 may be a wild card.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk



B6 was approached but dont seem interested. SVG government is paying BW to operate the JFK route, and I am sure that this is purely VFR (they add service for Xmas and in the summer). I think that lack of hotel rooms limits airline interest as the VFR market is small and very seasonal. Unlike SKB and GND (two other small markets) SVD doesnt have the offshore college student market to augment the VFR and leisure markets.

BA has already stated that they aren't going until hotel rooms are available as they sell packages via their tour group. DL isnt going to look at SVD. The only Eastern Caribbean island with heavy DL service is UVF.

The OP wants to show that this airport is a political move. Maybe he is correct but the point is that the previous airport had its limitations and had to be replaced. I will suggest that the extravagance is in the size of the terminal building as there is no way that SVD will ever get 1.5 million passengers. SVD is an eco adventure island with a different niche which will remain small. The Grenadines are more traditional upscale leisure markets, especially for the yachting crowd, but can easily be accessed via BGI and UVF, both of which offer better connecting opportunities than SVD every will.

But I maintain that the previous airport had to go.
 
caribny
Posts: 444
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:47 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:24 pm

gunnerman wrote:
Airports are not only expensive to build but expensive to run. Quite apart from essential maintenance and repairs to equipment, buildings and the runway, an airport which is open for, say, 18 hours a day requires people for security, check-in, baggage handling, catering, cleaning, immigration, customs, ATC, etc. Just about every Caribbean airport is underutilised, the only time I can recall an airport unable to cope was at BGI a few years ago when I experienced a BA flight having to wait for a stand when arriving mid-afternoon.



SXM faces challenges, especially on the weekends in the peak season. Long delays in landing and take off, especially when the SJU ATC is busy.
 
phatfarmlines
Posts: 1534
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2001 12:06 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:45 pm

caribny wrote:
I think that lack of hotel rooms limits airline interest as the VFR market is small and very seasonal.


caribny wrote:
BA has already stated that they aren't going until hotel rooms are available as they sell packages via their tour group.


Reemphazing CaribNY's points from his earlier post. The OP's economic analysis assumes no hotels will be built in St. Vincent thereafter to recapture tourist dollars, but hotels are complementary goods to air service, especially in a heavily leisure-oriented market.

Here's an article from April 2019 on hotel developments in St. Vincent. I do think there's potential in St. Vincent. Now, given the OP states corruption is involved, I don't know if the hotel developments mentioned in the article are all talk with no action, but a theoretical development of hotels would make economic sense to me.

Hotel at Diamond to be Holiday Inn
Source: iWitness News SVG
 
caribny
Posts: 444
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:47 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:54 pm

phatfarmlines wrote:
caribny wrote:
I think that lack of hotel rooms limits airline interest as the VFR market is small and very seasonal.


caribny wrote:
BA has already stated that they aren't going until hotel rooms are available as they sell packages via their tour group.


Reemphazing CaribNY's points from his earlier post. The OP's economic analysis assumes no hotels will be built in St. Vincent thereafter to recapture tourist dollars, but hotels are complementary goods to air service, especially in a heavily leisure-oriented market.

Here's an article from April 2019 on hotel developments in St. Vincent. I do think there's potential in St. Vincent. Now, given the OP states corruption is involved, I don't know if the hotel developments mentioned in the article are all talk with no action, but a theoretical development of hotels would make economic sense to me.

Hotel at Diamond to be Holiday Inn
Source: iWitness News SVG



My main skepticism with this is the notion that some Caribbean gov'ts have that "if you build hotel rooms they will come". People dont visit hotels. They select destinations and at that point a hotel selection is made.

Does SVG interest your generic Holiday Inn Express visitor? Do people likely to visit SVG, with its black sand beaches, want a large 400 room facility? Yes these projects will interest airlines who want to move bodies in seats to get them to beds. but if the hotels dont work service ceases, and this after expensive MRG expenses are incurred.

SVG has to look to see what DOM is doing. Their focus is on boutique style hotels that blend into their eco adventure environment, which I doubt a 400 room hotel will do. Fares to low frequency markets tend to be high so SVG needs to ensure that their hotels match the type of visitor willing to pay for this. SVG will never be SXM or AUA.
 
baje427
Posts: 797
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:42 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:07 pm

Hopefully the airport does not become a white elephant but a new airport was needed given the operational challenges with ET Joshua.
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:51 pm

andrefranca wrote:
I honestly think it was a scam to divert $$$, when I visited St. Vincent in 2011, my LIAT flight was not even half full, the former airport was tiny and terrible, even for the caribbean, but when I saw this airport finished I felt it was an overkill.... these islands are rarely known, even here in Portugal people do not know about it (Ralph Gonçalves is of Portuguese descent and the portuguese loooove to glorify their diaspora)... I do hope the best for them though...


I couldn't agree more with you.

Please bear in mind that St. Vincent's GDP is 864M$ (nominal), so the capital expenditure in this aiport is equivalent to 30% of the country's GDP.

Also bear in mind that current traffic could be handled by last airport in terms of pax/yr.

Last but no least, pax figures have decreased since AIA's inception, which points in the opposite direction of why the airport was conceived. All the current increase in travelers comes from the cruise and yatch industries. That said, better spend that money to attract more cruises or improve current ports.

Of course, everyone here has airport blindness since this is an airliners forum, so they think that any airport in the world will be justified as long as it will help them to achieve another destination to their bucket list. In the meanwhile, Comrade Ralph, who is from Portuguese ascend, is more than happy with his pockets full...
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:58 pm

par13del wrote:
andrefranca wrote:
I honestly think it was a scam to divert $$$, when I visited St. Vincent in 2011, my LIAT flight was not even half full, the former airport was tiny and terrible, even for the caribbean, but when I saw this airport finished I felt it was an overkill.... these islands are rarely known, even here in Portugal people do not know about it (Ralph Gonçalves is of Portuguese descent and the portuguese loooove to glorify their diaspora)... I do hope the best for them though...

If we regard it as infrastructure the next step which should have been going on during building is / was promotion of the country and region.
When Eagle had a hub in San Juan those ATR's distributed a lot of traffic between the islands, locals as well as tourist, the demise created "issues" among the smaller islands. At the time it did show that the local traffic had little or no bearing on the decision by AA to cease the operation.
Grenada for example pushed to have direct flights even if paying subsidies, LIAT had reasons to push for more funding while its service still sucked.
The government made an investment, wasted a lot of time and money but the finished result is there, whether it becomes a white elephant is unknown at this time, one can only hope that they are not so financially strapped that they cannot promote themselves and their new airport capabilities. Some consolidation may be required to contribute to the greater good.


My guess is that it will become a white elephant. Current traffic figures point that O&D passengers in 2018 (last year with stats available), are only 80k. Assuming that all of them came through SVD (thus, neglecting incoming traffic through neighbouring airports), the utilization of this airport is only of 5.34%-now you tell me if 5% usage rate seems anything near a sound business decision, no matter how much promotion and infrastructure investments you can make to make those figures go up.
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:05 pm

usflyer msp wrote:

You are looking at this the wrong way. Airports are key pieces of national infrastructure like roads and hospitals and their success cannot purely be judged on profit or passenger numbers. You have to ask questions like did it attract investment? Did it improve quality of life for locals? Sometimes infrastructure upgrades take decades to show big results but that doesn't mean it was not worth it.


The reality shows you a different story, you have to pay the bills. If you burden your country with 30% of your GDP in debt, with the promise that in decades to come you will see the benefit, as I said, maybe there are other cheaper ways to do it.

In 2006, SVG had the highest traveler expenditure in this century, way before AIA was built. It would be nice to ask themselves, what did they do different in 2006 that let them achieve so outstanding results without the need of such a big international airport.

Of course, everyone around here will say that airports are always in the need. We are in front of the egg and the chicken dilemma. If you build them they will come? I'm not sure about it. Building an airport alone, without rising the needed infrastructure to justify its expansion, is just a way to create a white elephant. That's the whole point of this post.
AP
 
mga707
Posts: 303
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:52 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:18 pm

Alejo6 wrote:
DLPMMM wrote:
ADent wrote:
SVD is Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Looks like it is 9,000 ft runway.


Thank you for a post with the basic information.

For others: If you are posting about a minor airport, please spell it out once before using codes.

I could not figure out if they were talking about Scotland or somewhere in Canada or the Caribbean.


For you: there is something called IATA code.

The beauty of it is that is unique, there are not two airports in the world with the same code.

Anyway, if you read the post, you will soon enough know what we are talking about.
I'm sorry for you...


I'm with him, and I thank him for explaining what airport is being discussed here. At no point in your original post do you say 'St. Vincent and the Grenadines'. I read it and still had no idea what you were talking about. Would stating the airport and country first have been that hard?
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:27 pm

mga707 wrote:
I'm with him, and I thank him for explaining what airport is being discussed here. At no point in your original post do you say 'St. Vincent and the Grenadines'. I read it and still had no idea what you were talking about. Would stating the airport and country first have been that hard?


Ok, you're right, I'm sorry, I forgot to mention that SVD stands for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for those in the US and the such that think that anything outside US and Europe is basically "a minor airport".

Let's not forget that SVD is the main gate for a country, that even small (110 k inhabitants), it's still a country and deserves some respect.

Anyway, I would expect something more significant to add other than stating the obvious facts.

In the end, there is always somebody who wants to play cool in every situation.

If you have anything to add to the post, other than acronym clarification, I'd be more than happy to hear.
Cheers!
AP
 
Brickell305
Posts: 1019
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:07 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:29 pm

I do believe SVD will become a white elephant. It’s way too big and was not warranted for current or future demand. It was sold to the local populace as a matter of national pride.
 
mga707
Posts: 303
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:52 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:39 pm

Alejo6 wrote:
mga707 wrote:
I'm with him, and I thank him for explaining what airport is being discussed here. At no point in your original post do you say 'St. Vincent and the Grenadines'. I read it and still had no idea what you were talking about. Would stating the airport and country first have been that hard?


Ok, you're right, I'm sorry, I forgot to mention that SVD stands for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for those in the US and the such that think that anything outside US and Europe is basically "a minor airport".

Let's not forget that SVD is the main gate for a country, that even small (110 k inhabitants), it's still a country and deserves some respect.

Anyway, I would expect something more significant to add other than stating the obvious facts.

In the end, there is always somebody who wants to play cool in every situation.

If you have anything to add to the post, other than acronym clarification, I'd be more than happy to hear.
Cheers!
AP


How is 'SVD' an acronym for 'St. Vincent and the Grenadines'? Yes, I've heard of the country. But probably 99% of humanity hasn't. Probably even the majority of people on this site. Why are you being so needlessly argumentative? Perhaps you should wait awhile before posting, to get the 'feel' of the group. You are a 'newbie' after all.
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:08 am

mga707 wrote:

How is 'SVD' an acronym for 'St. Vincent and the Grenadines'? Yes, I've heard of the country. But probably 99% of humanity hasn't. Probably even the majority of people on this site. Why are you being so needlessly argumentative? Perhaps you should wait awhile before posting, to get the 'feel' of the group. You are a 'newbie' after all.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SVD

Then probably 99% of humanity needs some geography lessons, specially if they live in this part of the world.

Again, if you have anything constructive to say re: the post, I'm all ears. Else, I'm afraid I'll have to pass.

Please let me know, just for curiosity, how much time should I let pass before being considered not a newbie anymore. Like if this was the only forum in the world, and one wouldn't know a forum's dynamics, for God's sake...

AP
 
gunnerman
Posts: 1143
Joined: Fri May 19, 2017 7:55 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:13 am

It isn't just St Vincent as in Dominica Skerrit is bursting to get an international airport built.
 
User avatar
par13del
Posts: 10335
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2005 9:14 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:40 am

Brickell305 wrote:
I do believe SVD will become a white elephant. It’s way too big and was not warranted for current or future demand. It was sold to the local populace as a matter of national pride.

The only thing big about it appears to be the terminal building, it appears to have two jet ways which was surprising to me, it is a single runway with no taxiways requiring backtracking, so probably a lot of waste or corruption resulted in the high cost?
 
mga707
Posts: 303
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:52 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:25 am

DLPMMM wrote:
ADent wrote:
SVD is Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Looks like it is 9,000 ft runway.


Thank you for a post with the basic information.

For others: If you are posting about a minor airport, please spell it out once before using codes.

I could not figure out if they were talking about Scotland or somewhere in Canada or the Caribbean.


Why a polite, common-sense post like this would set someone off is beyond me. What you request here is pretty basic.
 
caribny
Posts: 444
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:47 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sun Jan 12, 2020 6:30 am

par13del wrote:
Brickell305 wrote:
I do believe SVD will become a white elephant. It’s way too big and was not warranted for current or future demand. It was sold to the local populace as a matter of national pride.

The only thing big about it appears to be the terminal building, it appears to have two jet ways which was surprising to me, it is a single runway with no taxiways requiring backtracking, so probably a lot of waste or corruption resulted in the high cost?


Agreed. ET Joshua wasn't adequate and so a new airport was needed. The incessant delays whenever wind factors weren't favorable created problems for passengers every time LIAT had to cancel flights. What wasn't needed was a large terminal to accommodate 1.5 million arrivals. At best SVD might get to 500k several years from now.

There was definitely massive waste in the construction process.
 
caribny
Posts: 444
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:47 am

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sun Jan 12, 2020 6:32 am

mga707 wrote:
DLPMMM wrote:
ADent wrote:
SVD is Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Looks like it is 9,000 ft runway.


Thank you for a post with the basic information.

For others: If you are posting about a minor airport, please spell it out once before using codes.

I could not figure out if they were talking about Scotland or somewhere in Canada or the Caribbean.


Why a polite, common-sense post like this would set someone off is beyond me. What you request here is pretty basic.


When I read about HLE (St. Helena airport) I did Google HLE airport code and it was all there. The only issue is if one doesnt know about St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:56 pm

mga707 wrote:
DLPMMM wrote:
ADent wrote:
SVD is Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Looks like it is 9,000 ft runway.


Thank you for a post with the basic information.

For others: If you are posting about a minor airport, please spell it out once before using codes.

I could not figure out if they were talking about Scotland or somewhere in Canada or the Caribbean.


Why a polite, common-sense post like this would set someone off is beyond me. What you request here is pretty basic.


Go to the forum rules, there you will find it all. Posts should be meaningful an add valuable information. Keep posting just to repeat the importance of spelling the IATA acronym for those less familiar with "minor airports" doesn't seem to be a meaningful input.

If you can't understand that, it's beyond me.
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:05 pm

Brickell305 wrote:
I do believe SVD will become a white elephant. It’s way too big and was not warranted for current or future demand. It was sold to the local populace as a matter of national pride.


That is my whole point, the airport was made in order to sell it to the public as political propaganda.

Delays were made intentional as a way to keep winning elections term after term with the promise that only them (Gonsalves party) could finish the endeavour.

The aftermath, three years later, is that only three new additions, namely AA, BWIA and RV are flying new mid haul routes on smaller aircraft, the biggest being the B737 by BWIA with some 160 pax en-route to NY on a weekly basis.

What is more atonishing, O&D passenger count has decresed in the past 2 years, compared to the ET Joshua era (2000-2016).

Makes you wonder if all this was needed, 9 years to build an airport and a massive debt just to prove a point that SVG could have its own Int'l airport, like its neighbours of T&T and BGI.

Envy is never a good counseler when making decisions.
 
trintocan
Posts: 2788
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2000 6:02 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:22 pm

This has been an interesting discussion but one point needs to be made up front. Please remember that we are dealing with an island nation. Islands are inherently isolated and access to them becomes critical. Places that are on a mainland almost always have land access (admittedly there are exceptions like Juneau, Alaska and Gibsons, B.C.) but, where islands are concerned, access is either by air or water. St Vincent & The Grenadines has no fast ferry links with anywhere else or domestically - and indeed in the Caribbean, the only major ferry routes are those linking Martinique and Guadeloupe with each other plus St Lucia and Dominica and the domestic run between Trinidad and Tobago. While the Grenadines have long been renowned as a sailing paradise and many people who visit the islands will arrive on their own boats, St Vincent in particular critically requires good air links with the outside world.

ET Joshua Airport had a very short runway with hills at the eastern end, meaning that planes had to fly in from the west and take off to the west. With winds in the region usually coming in from the NE it meant taking off with tailwinds. The airport was long considered very tricky to fly to and of course could not handle large passenger jets. With such major limitations it was seen as important to build a new facility which could handle larger aircraft - and note this was not a new consideration but had been a circulating proposal for several decades. If ne builds a new piece of infrastructure like an airport one needs to future-proof it to an extent so that it does not simply become outdated within 5 or 10 years. As such, while it may seem overkill for them to build a facility capable of handling 1.5m pax per year, if one looks at the bigger picture it is worthwhile. In any event the new airport has only been open for 3 years. It is too early to write it off as a failure; one needs to give it time to grow.

So, let us look at the airlines serving SVD now. LIAT (LI) continue with their inter-island flights to POS, BGI, SLU and ANU. Caribbean Airlines (BW) have come in with flights to POS and JFK, AA serve MIA and Air Canada Rouge serve YYZ. That range of flights within 3 years of opening of the airport is quite impressive, especially when you consider that SVD had a dearth of service before. BW is a major airline in the Eastern Caribbean and is actually considered a premium airline there so their SVD service is considered pivotal. JFK is SVD's main VFR market so this link works for them. A link to MIA with AA is, of course, more than just a link to MIA but a link to the wider AA and OneWorld network so there is significantly great added value in that A319 flight. SVD is now on a global route map! Rouge is AC's lower-cost arm but is still effectively AC in most respects and again SVD features in a major global route map. Canada's market to the Caribbean differs somewhat from the US market and the lower-cost Rouge product is more likely to be successful in a new market like SVD. Again, we just have give them time for the market to develop and mature.

I am aware that SVG has some unique political issues and that these have spilled into the airport development. As this forum is strictly not for politics it is best to leave them aside and instead focus on what can, in time, be a winning development for the country.

Trintocan.
Hop to it, fly for life!
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:28 pm

trintocan wrote:
This has been an interesting discussion but one point needs to be made up front. Please remember that we are dealing with an island nation. Islands are inherently isolated and access to them becomes critical. Places that are on a mainland almost always have land access (admittedly there are exceptions like Juneau, Alaska and Gibsons, B.C.) but, where islands are concerned, access is either by air or water. St Vincent & The Grenadines has no fast ferry links with anywhere else or domestically - and indeed in the Caribbean, the only major ferry routes are those linking Martinique and Guadeloupe with each other plus St Lucia and Dominica and the domestic run between Trinidad and Tobago. While the Grenadines have long been renowned as a sailing paradise and many people who visit the islands will arrive on their own boats, St Vincent in particular critically requires good air links with the outside world.

ET Joshua Airport had a very short runway with hills at the eastern end, meaning that planes had to fly in from the west and take off to the west. With winds in the region usually coming in from the NE it meant taking off with tailwinds. The airport was long considered very tricky to fly to and of course could not handle large passenger jets. With such major limitations it was seen as important to build a new facility which could handle larger aircraft - and note this was not a new consideration but had been a circulating proposal for several decades. If ne builds a new piece of infrastructure like an airport one needs to future-proof it to an extent so that it does not simply become outdated within 5 or 10 years. As such, while it may seem overkill for them to build a facility capable of handling 1.5m pax per year, if one looks at the bigger picture it is worthwhile. In any event the new airport has only been open for 3 years. It is too early to write it off as a failure; one needs to give it time to grow.

So, let us look at the airlines serving SVD now. LIAT (LI) continue with their inter-island flights to POS, BGI, SLU and ANU. Caribbean Airlines (BW) have come in with flights to POS and JFK, AA serve MIA and Air Canada Rouge serve YYZ. That range of flights within 3 years of opening of the airport is quite impressive, especially when you consider that SVD had a dearth of service before. BW is a major airline in the Eastern Caribbean and is actually considered a premium airline there so their SVD service is considered pivotal. JFK is SVD's main VFR market so this link works for them. A link to MIA with AA is, of course, more than just a link to MIA but a link to the wider AA and OneWorld network so there is significantly great added value in that A319 flight. SVD is now on a global route map! Rouge is AC's lower-cost arm but is still effectively AC in most respects and again SVD features in a major global route map. Canada's market to the Caribbean differs somewhat from the US market and the lower-cost Rouge product is more likely to be successful in a new market like SVD. Again, we just have give them time for the market to develop and mature.

I am aware that SVG has some unique political issues and that these have spilled into the airport development. As this forum is strictly not for politics it is best to leave them aside and instead focus on what can, in time, be a winning development for the country.

Trintocan.

Agree that any nation island needs a proper airport as per their natural, isolated nature.
Agree that you cannot build a major infrastructure to be outdated in 5-10 years
Don't agree with:
LIAT already served SVD
Bewee already serviced SVD, they are only doing an additional the JFK route once a week in a somewhat small airplane (B737 in 162 seat configuration).
RV is covering YYZ, but Sunwing used to do it to for a while, and then dropped the route, showing that there is not that much of the potential that you want to point
Regarding pax increase, actually it dropped when compared to the 2000-2016 period, showing that all in all, AIA hasn't showed the expected effect so far (if you build it, they'll come), so clucked by Gonsalves
In 2006, the country had its highest visitor and expenditure figures without a 1.5 M pax/yr airport. Has nobody wondered how they did it and try to recreate those conditions, without spending more than a quarter billion dollars in an airport?
Agree that politics should be, in general, avoided in the forum, and stick to aviation, but when the party in the house made everything about its building a political agenda, this is hard to accomplish. Ask Gonsalves why he made AIA his sword and shield, election in and election out.
In the end, years will go by, no infrastructure will be built to support the increased expected outcome in terms of incoming tourists, and everybody will say that this was the main reason for the failure of this project. Please save the date, talk in 4 years, on Valentine's day (that's how ridiculous RG is, that he made the grand opening to coincide with Febraury 14th in order to make a double party, with everybody dressed in red in a big partisan party at the airport.
Also please keep in mind that this airport was funded by "the coalition of the willing", some of which members are in a worst position than SVG now, makes you wonder how money is spent in the name of the "Che-Chatoyer-Bolivar" alliance, and then nobody is accountable on how the money was spent or anything else. AP
 
gunnerman
Posts: 1143
Joined: Fri May 19, 2017 7:55 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:07 am

An airport with a capacity of 1.5m is ridiculous. Just look at nearby UVF which is maxed out at about 716,000, so a big expansion is underway. And how many hotel rooms does St Lucia have? It's over 4,500 with the expectation of an additional 2,000 rooms in the next eight years. St Vincent isn't going to get these numbers of rooms any time soon.
 
User avatar
par13del
Posts: 10335
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2005 9:14 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:57 am

I hope they will adopt the principles of local participation versus big box hotels, believe it not but that is where Air BNB came from, local sharing their homes with visitors. Such development empowers more individuals and ensure long stay visitors versus week end warriors looking for a good time.
Additionally, it is much cheaper in terms of development dollars.
 
trintocan
Posts: 2788
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2000 6:02 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:16 pm

Alejo6 wrote:
Agree that any nation island needs a proper airport as per their natural, isolated nature.
Agree that you cannot build a major infrastructure to be outdated in 5-10 years
Don't agree with:
LIAT already served SVD
Bewee already serviced SVD, they are only doing an additional the JFK route once a week in a somewhat small airplane (B737 in 162 seat configuration).
RV is covering YYZ, but Sunwing used to do it to for a while, and then dropped the route, showing that there is not that much of the potential that you want to point
Regarding pax increase, actually it dropped when compared to the 2000-2016 period, showing that all in all, AIA hasn't showed the expected effect so far (if you build it, they'll come), so clucked by Gonsalves



In reply - I clearly implied that LI were still there and not a new starter as I mentioned that they "continue" with their services from SVD. BeeWee (BWIA) and Caribbean Airlines are completely separate entities. BWIA flew to SVD Joshua between 1999 and 2004 with the Dash 8 fleet but stopped after a bit of a tangled episode. Essentially BWIA decided to transfer their regional ops to Tobago Express in order to reduce the operating costs. The trouble is that Tobago Express was the main operator on the POS-TAB airbridge and the added routes caused significant problems with delays and cancellations on the domestic run, such that other planes were leased in to provide extra capacity. The Government then mandated that Tobago Express focus on the domestic run and thence went the SVD route. Caribbean Airlines (BW) only started the route after Argyle Int'l opened, initially with a link to POS and then the JFK run. The 737-800 is the only plane in their inventory which can serve the JFK route - and is a decent size for a new route.

Canada is a tricky market to tap for holidaymakers. The package holiday market is very strong there (unlike in most of the USA) and Sunwing, among others, cater to it. St Vincent & The Grenadines at the moment is simply not really set up for package holidays at the moment. Air Canada Rouge, which combines holiday travel with VFR is perhaps a better fit for the SVD market at this point though in time Sunwing may find things better.

gunnerman wrote:
An airport with a capacity of 1.5m is ridiculous. Just look at nearby UVF which is maxed out at about 716,000, so a big expansion is underway. And how many hotel rooms does St Lucia have? It's over 4,500 with the expectation of an additional 2,000 rooms in the next eight years. St Vincent isn't going to get these numbers of rooms any time soon.


I will concede that 1.5m per year is perhaps a tad ambitious in the first instance; a modular design which would allow for addition of additional capacity would have been better. Do recall though that St Lucia, unlike St Vincent, has 2 airports which means that the regional traffic is largely separated from the international traffic.

Trintocan.
Hop to it, fly for life!
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:42 pm

trintocan wrote:
In reply - I clearly implied that LI were still there and not a new starter as I mentioned that they "continue" with their services from SVD. BeeWee (BWIA) and Caribbean Airlines are completely separate entities. BWIA flew to SVD Joshua between 1999 and 2004 with the Dash 8 fleet but stopped after a bit of a tangled episode. Essentially BWIA decided to transfer their regional ops to Tobago Express in order to reduce the operating costs. The trouble is that Tobago Express was the main operator on the POS-TAB airbridge and the added routes caused significant problems with delays and cancellations on the domestic run, such that other planes were leased in to provide extra capacity. The Government then mandated that Tobago Express focus on the domestic run and thence went the SVD route. Caribbean Airlines (BW) only started the route after Argyle Int'l opened, initially with a link to POS and then the JFK run. The 737-800 is the only plane in their inventory which can serve the JFK route - and is a decent size for a new route.


What I meant is, BWIA or CAL, as you want to call it (one is the predecessor of the other, but essentially they are the same thing), is covering this route with ATRs, so that means that they could do that perfectly in the old airport as it could fit smaller aircraft.
Actually, current traffic in terms of pax could be handled single handedly by ET Joshua just fine. Please bear in mind that many of nowadays incoming passengers to AIA are the same that used to do it through BGI and POS back in the day. The key question is, how many INCREMENTAL pax has AIA captured? Of course, shorter connection times equals to higher pax satisfaction, but if this doesn't translates in higher incoming pax yield, what's the whole point of building a new airport?
AP
Last edited by Alejo6 on Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
User avatar
par13del
Posts: 10335
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2005 9:14 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:53 pm

When you mention 2006 as the year of their high arrival numbers, it should also be noted that the major feed of tourist traffic had 2008 create significant financial hardships, a lot of tourist site are just recovering and this is in spite of normal annual hurricane hits.
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:27 pm

par13del wrote:
When you mention 2006 as the year of their high arrival numbers, it should also be noted that the major feed of tourist traffic had 2008 create significant financial hardships, a lot of tourist site are just recovering and this is in spite of normal annual hurricane hits.


St. Vincent is less affected by hurricanes as it is closer to the continent. Actually Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados are part of South American plate, rather than in the Caribbean.

All I'm saying is, if you were a Vincyman, and your country was massively indebted for the years to come with such huge endeavour (the greatest in SVG's history), you would expect something in return.

Judging from its first three years, that return is far from realizing.

Of course, any capital expenditure of this dimension takes years to fruit, but judging by the first 3 years, seems like something's lacking. It's like a baby that was born underweight, and it's not gaining any weight on his first three months. At least it's a reason to be concerned.

I really hope that SVG will grow its tourism base, don't get me wrong, but frankly, given the current state of affairs, and what's being done (or not), I don't think so.
AP
 
User avatar
par13del
Posts: 10335
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2005 9:14 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:51 pm

Alejo6 wrote:
All I'm saying is, if you were a Vincyman, and your country was massively indebted for the years to come with such huge endeavour (the greatest in SVG's history), you would expect something in return.

However, if as you claim, the cost overruns were due to deliberate corruption to ensure that the government continued to remain in power, what economic factor would you include to make the financial situation of the airport more balanced?

The actual revenue being generated today may be in line with the initial projections which had nothing to do with the corruption, unfortunately, the airport is a visible symbol that all and sundry can see and throw rocks at, the politicians and their strategies get lost in the fray.

In looking at some of the videos on You Tube, mention was made of an area of the terminal for historical information, was that every put in place and how has / was it received by the travelling public, is it only open to travelers or can anyone visit the airport to see the exhibit?
 
Alejo6
Topic Author
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:17 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:10 pm

par13del wrote:
However, if as you claim, the cost overruns were due to deliberate corruption to ensure that the government continued to remain in power, what economic factor would you include to make the financial situation of the airport more balanced?

The actual revenue being generated today may be in line with the initial projections which had nothing to do with the corruption, unfortunately, the airport is a visible symbol that all and sundry can see and throw rocks at, the politicians and their strategies get lost in the fray.

In looking at some of the videos on You Tube, mention was made of an area of the terminal for historical information, was that every put in place and how has / was it received by the travelling public, is it only open to travelers or can anyone visit the airport to see the exhibit?

The key issue here is, this airport was deliberately made far bigger than it was needed (15x times SVG population's capacity)
Bonaire, for the sake of the argument, a neighbouring Caribbean island, has a population of only 20.000, but receives in excess of 400.000 pax/yr (20-fold).
Will SVG be the next Bonaire? I don't think so. It's all about politics' narcisism, in their "who-has-the-biggest-dick" competition (in this case, who has the biggest, more modern airport, with more jet bridges). And of course, there is always corruption involved. The bigger the ouvre, the bigger the commission they get. You cannot make up for corruption. That money is gone to an offshore account and will never come back.
Sadly, Vicentians will have to carry this white elephant in their backs for the years to come, while Comrade Ralph is drinking some Piñas Coladas in Cayman Islands.
 
gunnerman
Posts: 1143
Joined: Fri May 19, 2017 7:55 pm

Re: SVD Airport - was it worth it?

Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:04 pm

trintocan wrote:
Canada is a tricky market to tap for holidaymakers. The package holiday market is very strong there (unlike in most of the USA) and Sunwing, among others, cater to it. St Vincent & The Grenadines at the moment is simply not really set up for package holidays at the moment. Air Canada Rouge, which combines holiday travel with VFR is perhaps a better fit for the SVD market at this point though in time Sunwing may find things better.

A freind of mine was the handling agent of Air Canada Vacations (ACV) in Grenada some years ago. Most passengers of the weekly Air Canada Rouge flight from Toronto were customers of ACV. She met the ACV customers at GND, got them bussed to their hotels, visited them the next day to give a welcome speech and to sell tours, was at the end of a phone during their stay, got them bussed back to GND at the end of their vacation and paid the departure tax (it was collected at the airport in those days) which was refunded to her company by ACV. This is the kind of service that ACV customers expected, they were not independent travellers who organised their own flights, accommodation, transfers and tours. She also handled Sunwing whose customers were very similar to ACV's.

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos