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interCaribbean regrets continued disruption of flights to and from South Caicos.
Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands. March 7 2016. We like the travelling public are dismayed with the state of the Rescue and Fire Fighting Service (RFFS) at South Caicos (XSC). The unreliability of the RFFS has been ongoing for nearly two years now with acute unreliability/unserviceability or reported sabotage of equipment in recent weeks which have severely impacted our ability to deliver reliable air service to the community of South Caicos and to support the recent spike in travel to the island due to the opening of the resorts there.
During the last two weeks alone we have made numerous request to have the RFFS upgraded to enable us to operate into South Caicos with our Embraer E120 aircraft which have all been denied. We have enquired of Turks & Caicos Airport Authority (TCIAA) what is really happening and why they are not able to ensure a reliable RFFS but have not received any satisfactory response or explanation. It was only on February 29th that TCIAA CEO advised us that the RFFS vehicle was fully repaired, yet 2 days later our request to upgrade flights was refused on the grounds that TCIAA was not able to provide the requisite RFFS service for the E120. Finally late on Friday 3rd March we received information from them that “due to loss of Rescue and Fire Fighting coverage ALL flights are suspended”. Suffice to say the TCIAA CEO has not responded to our last request for updated information, so we are not in a position to advise when normal flight operations to/from South Caicos would resume.
All correspondence between the CEO of TCIAA and interCaribbean executives have been copied to various Government Officials including the Premier and the Minister for TCIAA so there is confidence that Government is fully aware of the situation.
We find it ironic that TCIAA choses to issue a press release (without copying interCaribbean), while it but fails to adequately communicate with interCaribbean as a principal stakeholder at the airport. Equally alarming and of particular note is the fact that this is not the first time in recent weeks the TCIAA has said that the RFFS equipment has been sabotaged but yet we understand an offer to provide safe guarded overnight secure parking for the equipment was declined by the Airport Authority. When all this is taken in context one may reasonably conclude that providing the required RFFS and thus keeping the airport operating at South Caicos is of a low priority to TCIAA.
We call on the Government and the TCIAA Board to examine the matters surrounding the RFFS at this airport and to provide an account to all stakeholders as the steward of this Public asset.
ABOUT INTERCARIBBEAN AIRWAYS
Based in the Turks & Caicos Islands(TCI), interCaribbean has served travelers in the Caribbean since 1991, celebrating 25 years of history this month of February 2016. The company operates a fleet of EMB 120, Twin Otter and BE99 aircraft, connecting the TCI with Antigua, Bahamas, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and British Virgin Islands; totaling 18 Caribbean cities. The company also operates domestic flights in TCI and Jamaica.