Hon Claude Hogan, People's Democratic Movement (PDM) Candidate for Montserrat's 2019 General Elections, recently caught up with WinAir's Vice President and Director Marketing and Sales Claudio Buncamper in St Maarten.
Hon Hogan travelled to St Maarten on October 23rd to speak directly with WinAir about the return of their service to Montserrat. Whilst there Hon Hogan also discussed with WinAir, the need for a much wider service from them so that the people of Montserrat could benefit.
In this regard, they explored what the requirements would be to have WinAir operate on the Montserrat route on a more permanent basis.
Both men also discussed the circumstances that can allow for the twin otter service to be connected to the international and regional network for Airlines such as LIAT and international carriers.
The Department for International Development (DFID) is onboard with the strategy of WinAir's return to service for Montserrat. A DFID consultant previously spoke with WinAir before the agreement was signed off.
WinAir discussed with DFID's consultant, matters such as the scope of operations to include the comfort and safety of a twin otter; the airport's design aircraft; and the balancing of operational cost between an islander and a twin otter.
WinAir's VP pointed out that one of the key differences between a twin otter and an Islander is that an islander depends entirely on brakes to stop, while a twin otter has reverse thrust as part of its short take-off and landing capabilities - which makes it safer to operate.
Hon Hogan, whilst working on behalf of the people of Montserrat, garnered a very good perspective from WinAir's VP on how both Tourism Marketing and the Government initiatives, from a policy level, can work in tandem to see visitor numbers increase for the island.
WinAir's VP also mentioned that airlift will grow the Montserrat economy. However, he highlighted that there may have been forces within Montserrat who may have worked to try and keep WinAir out.
Listen below to the full conversation between the Hon Hogan and WinAir's Claudio Buncamper.
The flight schedule for January 2020 and provisionally for March 2020 for WinAir's service into Montserrat is as follows:
January 2 and 3 – Departing Antigua at 8:15a.m. arriving in Montserrat at 8:35a.m.
January 2 and 3– Departing Montserrat at 8:55 a.m. and arriving in Antigua at 9:15a.m.
March 11, 12 and 13 - Departing Antigua at 5:05p.m., arriving in Montserrat at 5:25p.m.
March 11, 12 and 13– Departing Montserrat at 5:45p.m. arriving in Antigua at 6:05p.m.
March 18, 19 and 20 – Departing Antigua at 8:15a.m. and arriving in Montserrat at 8:35a.m.
March 18, 19 and 20 – Departing Montserrat at 8:55a.m. and arriving in Antigua at 9:15a.m.
The above listed schedule for March 2020 is an early indication and is subject to change.
The fare for travel from Antigua to Montserrat is a total of US$137.00 which includes a fare of US$98.00 and taxes/VAT of US$48.00. Individuals traveling from Montserrat to Antigua will pay US$122.00 (fare US$84.00 and taxes US$38.00).