U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan supports the decision by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ground Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of passenger safety.
Governor Bryan reassured the traveling public that their safety is of paramount importance, and the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands was in close communication with the federal government, as well as the airlines, to ensure the necessary safety measures are being implemented.
"Erring on the side of caution and ensuring the safety of Virgin Islands residents and travelers to the Territory is our utmost priority," Governor Bryan said this afternoon. "This Administration supports the decision to temporarily ground Boeing's 737 MAX. While this action may result in changes to normal flight operations and affect airlift, I have full confidence in our travel partner American Airlines to mobilize its assets and resume normal operations in a short period of time."
Tourism Commissioner Nominee Joseph Boschulte confirmed that two American Airlines flights between St. Croix and Miami, and one of the two flights between St. Thomas and Miami are currently serviced by the 737 MAX aircraft. Flights to and from the Territory on other carriers and from other cities are currently not affected.
"Our team has been at the airport on St. Croix to work with passengers to ensure they have the information needed to make alternate plans," said Commissioner Nominee Boschulte. He encouraged all travelers to check with their airlines to confirm travel plans before heading to the airport.
AA 943 departed St. Thomas to Miami this afternoon, while the outbound Miami-St. Croix flight (AA 1293) is currently grounded at Henry E. Rohlsen Airport. This evening's Miami-St. Croix service (AA 2317) has been cancelled and efforts are underway to secure another aircraft model to transport passengers to the mainland.
The decision of the FAA is in response to reports of two fatal crashes of brand-new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft over the past six months in Asia and Africa. Other countries that have temporarily grounded the aircraft include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and nations across Europe.