BEEF ISLAND, VI- In what has been considered a major step for the Virgin Islands (UK) following the devastation of Hurricane Irma, the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport reopened for commercial flights on Monday October 2, 2017.
Prior to its reopening, the airport was being used strictly to evacuate persons via charter jets and to bring in relief supplies. Liat was also among the airlines honouring tickets for persons booked to depart the Virgin Islands even before hurricanes Irma and Maria.
According to the Department of Disaster Management, carriers that are resuming commercial operation to Tortola include Cape Air, which operated its first flight out of the airport to San Juan on Monday morning, October 2, 2017 and regional carrier LIAT, which was operating flights from the Eastern Caribbean.
Another important carrier for the territory, Seaborne, will be relaunching its San Juan-Tortola flights on October 11, 2017 according to the company’s Web site.
Hours of flight operation at the airport will be from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM daily.
Airport sustained severe damage
Operations had been restricted to humanitarian, relief and evacuation flights only after the airport had sustained “severe damage,” Mr Denniston S. Fraser, managing director of the BVI Airports Authority, said.
As a result, repair work had to be undertaken to rectify the issues and meet the standards of Air Safety Support International.
“Major concerns for ASSI were having competent staff in place, addressing issues with the fence, ensuring that equipment, control tower equipment and generators’ are in a reliable position so that the Airport can function properly,” Fraser added.
The Airports Authority is advising travelers to arrive at the airport at least three hours prior to departure time.