Jet Blue offered nonstop NYC to STT

The VI’s could have had a direct Jet Blue flight from New York … if the Virgin Islands government had agreed to guarantee the company $1.5 million.  That proposal was reported by a committee appointed by the Governor working to maintain air service to the Territory in the face of cutbacks.  The “offer” was rejected.

Jet Blue was not alone in trying to pry cash from the Territory in  exchange for scheduling flights into St. Thomas.  Continental Airlines wanted $1 million for a weekly flight from Newark. US Airways ”considered dropping one weekly seasonal Charlotte-St. Croix flight” if it didn’t get $1 million, according to a report published ion the Virgin Islands Daily News.

Now, we know the airlines are in trouble.  United is asking as much as $9 for a “fresh” snack.  Now we learn the airlines are asking for cash for service.  The Tourism Commissioner said there have been no such payments. But the VIs have committed $1.6 million in marketing partnerships with four airlines to promote their flights in Atlanta, Boston, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale.

This Daily News story (read it here: http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/index.pl/article?id=17627816) just makes the airlines sound thuggish, desperate and heavy-handed.  Without air service, the islands’ tourism business goes in the dumper. You could say the airlines have their foot on the throat of the local economy.  Is Vladimir Putin running the airlines?

9 thoughts on “Jet Blue offered nonstop NYC to STT”

  1. The airlines have definitely cut back on service to ST Thomas and now I’m finding it very difficult to get reasonable flights times from Raleigh. I’m also starting to see overnight flights pop up when I search my travel dates. If I want to arrive the day I choose the price goes way up.
    Very unfortunate because it makes me look for alternate destinations for vacation that are easier to get to.
    In general, the costs have doubled from what I was used to paying to get there. I hoping a fare sale comes soon but I doubt it.
    Airline changes are not going to be good for the Virgin Islands I fear.

  2. Folks, this is common practice in the airline industry. Other destinations have paid major carriers to fly to their islands for years. JetBlue is just engaging the same tactics that their competition uses. It’s nothing new, and should not stand in the way of bringing affordable passenger service to the USVIs if the destination wants it.

  3. Place it all in perspective-
    A million dollars might buy you 1 bedroom in a St John House with a good view. When you figure how the value of St John real estate would fall if it was made even more difficult to get here, and combine that with the economic loss to all the hotels, resorts, restaurants, stores and tourist activities on St John and St Thomas if travel was made even more difficult 1.5 million is chump change.
    The USVI Tourism office has the responsibility to intensively negotiate deals that will help facilitate the free flow of visitors.
    Airlines are business (I equate them to busses and think they should be nationalized but that is another story) Airlines have to make a profit to justify service. That’s how our system works.
    I’m not sure what “1.5 mil in monthly revenue” really means. How many flights would this provide?
    I have also petitioned Jet Blue to institute regular direct flights from JFK to ST and believe it would be great for all concerned.
    Just turning Jet Blue down and not countering as with the US Air style deal is childish.
    Local government has to accept their responsibility for providing the seed money so local business and property owners can make the money to pay for their taxes and maintain the value of their properties and businesses.

  4. It amazes me how we want safe reliable transportaion but when it comes to competing in the marketplace one would only compete if it has an unfair advantage. Jetblue has done nothing for the Virgin Islands and was trying to hold the island hostage in order to gain their service. Kudos to the board for telling them no thanks. I wonder what $1.5 million might have done to persuade American Airlines or the other established carriers to continue or increase service to the islands?

  5. Hmmmmm, let’s see, Airlines are requesting 1.5 million dollars from it’s destinations, God only knows how many are paying up, and they are still losing milliions of dollars every quarter? I think the airlines need new managemnet….maybe Herb Kellaher will come back and help them out. Southwest still seem to be making a profit doing what all the other airlines are doing……hmmmmm.

  6. The government should pay the airlines to fly to a location-YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING! If the airlines can’t stand the heat of higher gas prices and lower profits then get out of the business all together. Individuals have to pay more for gas and without a government subsidy. Fire every upper level exec (and no going away goodies) and put someone lower down in their place. Any business these days pays their execs too much anyway. What do they contribute?

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