THE Government of St. Lucia has inked a deal with United Airlines to service St. Lucia with two extra flights from Chicago and Newark, New Jersey, but has remained tight-lipped on the details of that particular contract with the airline.
Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee, Thursday told reporters that the extra flights, which will be on Sundays will supplement the Saturday flights that come into St. Lucia from the two destinations.
He said that the additional flights to start during the coming winter season, emerged from the promises seen in the New Jersey area whereas the additional flight out of Chicago will create greater opportunities for people and cities around Chicago.
However the Minister refused to expound on the risks to St. Lucia that may surface if expectations is not met in the new deal with United Airlines.
“It’s difficult when you are investing in new flights and new routes so there is always going to be a level of shared risks,” Fedee said.
Whether one of those risks involves the Government of St. Lucia subsidizing empty seats on these flights Fedee would not say, but noted that the government does not believe in paying anything with respect to these flights.
“We believe that we will not be paying anything because we will be marketing this flight,” Fedee said in relation to the flight out of Chicago.
“It’s a strategic decision on our part to go and launch the flight out of Chicago and we have a lot of big promotions between now and the start date of the flight so that we can ensure that the load factors are good,” Fedee said.
“We were encouraged to do this because of the load factors we were seeing out of Chicago on the existing flight. The flight did very well and we believe that the second flight will do very well. I am very optimistic that we will have to pay nothing,” Fedee added.