Ten months after the opening of the Argyle International Airport (AIA), Air Canada Rouge made its inaugural flight to the Argyle International Airport (AIA) on Thursday, 14th December 2017.
The Air Canada Rouge Flight - 1869, was filled to capacity, coming from the Pearson International Airport, Toronto; to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The flight, which lasted 6 hours and 5 minutes, is evidence that that relationship between the AIA and Air Canada have begun with flying colours.
The commencement of the Air Canada flight service to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was welcomed by the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Cecil McKie and Chief Executive Officer of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA), Mr. Glen Beache. Both men hailed the Air Canada Rouge service as an important milestone. That was said at a brief ceremony to welcome returning nationals and visitors outside the arrival lounge at the AIA.
Mr. Glen Beache was pleased that the Air Canada promise was fulfilled to Vincentians at home and in the Diaspora. He stated "this is a day that we should all be proud of", and added that he was happy that the flight came in full, with over 145 passengers. Also, he said that he was happy that the flight left full as well.
Further, Mr. Beach explained that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority is continuing negotiations with Air Canada to move from a seasonal flight to regular scheduled flights for the entire year. According to the CEO, on Thursday, 21st December 2017, Air Canada Rouge will return to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and will continue operations until April 2018. Sunwing is also operating flights out of Canada until 14th January 2018, he added. Accordingly, Sunwing will continue to offer flights to and from Canada when Air Canada ends its scheduled flights in April, Beache explained. Sunwing flights will run until August 2018, so that flights will be taken care of as far as carnival is concerned, he clarified. The CEO thanked everyone who turned out to show solidarity. He urged them to continue to promote Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and to be positive.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Cecil McKie, described the commencement of the Air Canada Rouge service as "a huge moment for the Government and People of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, for the Argyle International Airport, and the visitors and returning Vincentians, who came in on the flight”. "Very soon, flights will be coming from other parts of North America," Minister McKie stated. He told the audience that his Ministry is also pursuing direct flights from the U.K. He expressed thanks to all the visitors and returning nationals for coming to destination Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The Minister of Tourism also expressed gratitude to Air Canada for agreeing to establish a relationship and a contract to fly directly to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
In closing, Minister McKie added that “we’re enjoying our best cruise ship season ever”, where virtually every day, there is a cruise ship in Port Kingstown. That, he said, is applicable to other parts of the Grenadines.
Staff of the SVGTA treated returning nationals and visitors with gift bags and light refreshments.