MARIGOT–An inaugural flight from AVA Airways touched down at Grand Case Airport on Friday afternoon, marking the start of a new direct service from Fort-de-France, Martinique, on Mondays and Fridays for the time being.
Welcoming the flight on Friday were President of the airport’s management company SESMA, Alain Russel, Airport Director Daniel Levebre, Director General of St. Martin Tourism Office Kate Richardson, and Local and Regional manager for the tourism office Grgoire Dumel.
President and CEO of AVA Air David Renard said the company is considering adding another flight, possibly on Sundays. The new airline formed on March 15, 2017, is currently flying between Martinique and Guadeloupe, and hopes to capture an additional market to St. Martin by offering the direct one-hour-15-minute flight.
“We are not certain yet of the potential of the market to St. Martin, in effect we are inventing it,” Renard said. “We don’t want to be doing the same thing as the other airlines here.”
The aircraft is an 18-seater Jetstream 32 that has a cruising speed of 430 km/h and a range of 1,700 KM. It is flown by two pilots and has a hostess on board for the comfort and security of passengers. Reporters were allowed to go on board to see the interior. A snack and a drink are offered in-flight to passengers.
“The need is there for this flight,” commented Dumel. “It’s going to be very convenient.”
Richardson indicated the airport has been fighting to get another airline to Grand Case for some time and that time has now arrived. “This is a first step. Also it’s important to mention that all the renovation work completed at the airport itself for the welcome of passengers is going to be a big help in getting the airport recognised,” she said.
“We have been going to aviation shows for the past two years with the airport to sell the assets of the destination. Even though it’s a small airline it’s going to bring a new dynamic to the airport. We’ve always had a lot of tourists coming from Martinique and Guadeloupe, but now with direct flights from both islands instead of losing time with stop overs, this is a very positive development,” Richardson further noted.