Speaking at the reopening ceremony, Deputy Governor David Archer Jr said, as a proud Virgin Gordian, he was delighted to see the reopening of the airport as it meant more tourism business for the sister island which is described as the tourism capital of the territory.
“For Virgin Gorda, it’s a very special day. When I went to Beef Island and saw all of the jets on the runways, I said wow! But today when I saw this amazing plane land, I now understand why it extends to the wider BVI. Virgin Gorda deserves this,” the Deputy Governor said.
Deputy Chairperson of the BVI Airports Authority (BVIAA), Patsy Lake said the occasion was a big blessing for Virgin Gorda and the wider territory. Lake also thanked those involved in the reopening, especially Premier Andrew Fahie and the contractor, Alric George of AGS Construction, who lead rehabilitative works at the facility.
“Today we can look at a beautiful building and we certainly hope with the improvement it will triple our passenger numbers and satisfy the demand into Virgin Gorda,” the Deputy Chairperson added.
Representative of the Ninth District where Virgin Gorda is located, Vincent Wheatley, said the reopening of the Taddy Bay Airport was not only significant for the tourism sector but it will prove beneficial to the health sector.
“This has opened a whole new avenue of aircraft that can fly into the airport; widening the scope of people who can fly from anywhere once the plane can get here. From my timing, the place crossed the airports in one and a half minutes and from wheel to wheel it was around four minutes. So, for persons who might have medical issues and have to go to Tortola- imagine three minutes versus half an hour on a boat. This here has the capacity to save a life,” Wheatley said.
Meanwhile, Chairperson of the BVI Tourist Board (BVITB), Kenisha Sparuve said the reopening of Taddy Bay marks the fourth port of entry and the second airport in the territory that can welcome international travellers on direct trips to the territory during the COVID-19 era.
“We at the BVI Tourist Board and Film Commission are pleased that this airport can welcome travellers with a full range of services including COVID-19 health screening, improved infrastructure and safety and comfort of our residents and guests,” she said.
“We are also pleased that people who work at or provide services at the airport are once again re-engaged; helping to boost economic activity on this island,” the BVITB Chairperson added.
Meanwhile, Virgin Gorda resident and the Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development, Shereen Flax-Charles, said this moment was long-awaited among residents of Virgin Gorda. She noted the reopening of the airport will go a long way in getting people back into the island that so many people have fallen in love with over the years.
“Today the many and diverse people of Virgin Gorda saw in the most literal of senses ‘to great heights. Of course, we cannot call them new heights as we celebrate new birth and not newness,” Flax-Charles said.