Fact Checking Fly Montserrat's Nigel Harris' Misleading Comparison of St Barts Airport to Monterrat's John A. Osborne

St Barths Airport

Jeevan A. Robinson

Release Date

Tuesday, June 11, 2024


On Tuesday June 4th, Manager of Fly Montserrat, Nigel Harris joined ZJB Radio’s morning show Host Basil Chambers for a live interview on air. During that conversation Basil asked Nigel a question regarding airport operating hours and the moves he is advocating for towards longer hours at the John A. Osborne Airport (JAO)

During his response, Nigel made reference in comparing the operating hours of Montserrat’s John A. Osborne Airport to that of Gustaf III Airport on the island of St Barts, and the number of movements that airfield accommodated in a day, upwards of 200 he stated; as opposed to Fly Montserrat’s 8-10 movements per day.

In essence, what it seems Nigel was attempting to do, was to imply that longer airport operating hours can see John A. Osborne being perhaps as competitive as St Barts Airport.

That comparison given by Nigel was grossly misleading.

The Gustaf III Airport is also known as Saint Barthélemy Airport, or sometimes as the St. Jean Airport. (IATA: SBH, ICAO: TFF]). It is described as a public use airport located in the village of St. Jean on the Caribbean Island of Saint Barthélemy aka Saint Barts.

The most common aircraft flying in for commercial service to that airport are the Pilatus PC-12; Cessna 208B Grand Caravan; de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter; and Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander.

Gustaf III Airport airport, facilitates regularly at least six (6) airlines:

* Air Antilles

* St Barth Commuter

* St Barth Executive (Tradewind Aviation)

* West Indies Helicopters

* WinAir

* DHL Aviation

Recent movement data stands at 4,271 per year - 3,439 per month or 113 per day. 

To make such a comparison as Nigel did with Montserrat’s John A Osborne Airport is ludicrous, disingenuous, and misleading.

In order to match the sheer number of movements, Fly Montserrat, with its constantly breaking down aircrafts built in 1974, 1976 and 1984 respectively - 50, 48, and 40-year-old planes – will have to conduct not only 37.666 flights per aircraft but in addition, have an adequate compliment of pilots to comply with fatigue management rules to get anywhere near that 113 movements in one day much less sustain that throughout the year.  Totally impossible for FM to do.

Furthermore, that's only a mention of the physical movements, and not the actual capacity of the aircraft allowed to operate at Montserrat’s John A Osborne Airport.

St Barts, with its 10,994 population with its unhindered economy, compared to Montserrat’s 4,386, is absolutely no comparison. Thus it was a very poor example by Nigel to justify his request for longer hours. It is not that the request to operate longer hours at JAO is a bad thing, but such statements uttered by Mr Harris are simply designed only to mislead and confuse those so inclined.

Latest Stories