View of Lookout from aircraft

MACG Wants Agreement with Government of Montserrat to Provide Subsidised Charter Services

Montserrat Access Group led by its president Desmond Meade, has requested a meeting with the Government of Montserrat for the opportunity to discuss a way forward to improve air access to the island.

In a letter addressed to Premier Joseph Farrell and emailed to members of the Government, Opposition and the media, Meade stated that “the traveling public experienced a most difficult and financially draining period in trying to access Montserrat” during the St. Patrick’s Festival season.

“All residents and future visitors require reliable, comfortable safe transportation access into Montserrat. But, the challenges introduced by the cessation of the WINAIR flights and the difficulties in securing ferry services negatively impacted the financial and economic benefits that could have been brought to Montserrat had visitors been able to easily and affordably access transportation to Montserrat in a timely manner.

“MACG wishes to indicate that anecdotal evidence tends to show Air Access remains the preferred mode of transportation into Montserrat. In addition, consideration ought to be given to the recent spate of adverse sea conditions that brought challenges, delays and cancellation to ferry operations, whereas air transportation continued to operate. Air transportation may effectively offer more active flying days than active sailing days,” the letter continued.

The president said they were “given the impression that the Government could be considering allowing MACG the opportunity to manage
“Montserrat Access”. Currently the Office of the Premier, has responsibility for Access.

Meade pledged his organisation’s continued consultation, and, full support for future access solutions.

MACG wants the Farrell-led government to consider:
● Rapprochement with WINAIR/ASSI to find a pathway for the return of WINAIR flights into Montserrat.
● Reconsideration of the “ RESA issue” in light of the precedent set over 17 years ago with safe flights into Montserrat, also, to include newbuild 30m RESA extensions at RWY 10/28 in accordance with ICAO Annex 14, Sec 3 -5, and OTAR 139-29.
● In the event of a successful outcome of the of the WINAIR/ASSI deliberations financial support in the form of Charter Flight Guarantee per 60-day period.
● Or alternately subsidy for operator (MACG) seat rate of $250.00 USD.
● Financial support in the form of “same level” flight subsidy as offered to existing air service operators.
● Early negotiations for the provision of a suitable ferry for the Christmas and St Patrick’s Festivals.

MACG is requesting a face-to-face meeting with the Government ministers and parliamentary secretary “to trash out the above issues by or round about May 8th and is seeking your kind assistance and intervention to bring the regulator ASSI to the table as well.We are of the view that such a discussion will allow MACG technical teams to extract and present the required data to provide for an understanding of aviation issues surrounding the “RESA issues”, and potentially offer an access solution.”

Premier Farrell said in his reply that “a response will be forthcoming as my administration is open to  entertaining any consultation/ discussion on access and a way forward.”