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Seaborne Airlines Begins Taking Flights to Virgin Gorda

July 18, 2007 — The opening ceremony for Seaborne Airlines’ seaplane service to Virgin Gorda was held Tuesday at the Captain Owen G. Harrigan Visitor Centre at Gun Creek, North Sound, Virgin Gorda.
The commencement marked a cooperative effort by the BVI government, BVI Tourist Board, Air Safety Support International (ASSI), and Seaborne Airlines, as all parties have been working determinedly together in the past two years to establish the first certified water aerodrome in the BVI and U.K., and to expand the Captain Owen G. Harrigan Visitor Centre for seaplane service.
“It took a high level of cooperation to get this done,” said BVI Tourism Board Chairman Russell Harrigan, Tuesday.
In attendance were distinguished BVI government officials: Dr. D. Orlando Smith, Ralph T. O’Neal, Elmore Stoutt; BVI Tourist board leaders: Russell Harrigan and Janis Braithwaite-Edwards; top officials from Seaborne Airlines: Omer ErSelcuk, David Ziemer, Marcy Heistand and Ethel Ritch; ASSI Captain Margaret Wilson; as well as BVI residents.
The inaugural flight marked the beginning of Seaborne Airlines’ direct roundtrip weekend service from St. Thomas to Virgin Gorda starting Friday. Seaborne flights arrive and depart from the visitor centre at Gun Creek, which encompasses a customs and immigration check point and seaplane dock. It also offers convenient ferry connections to the surrounding resorts, as well as ample parking and taxi service.
“In an ever more competitive world, it is those economies that can work together that will rise above the rest to quickly and efficiently bring the demand together with supply,” said Omer ErSelcuk, President and CEO of Seaborne Airlines, on Tuesday. “We look forward to markedly improving logistical connections between the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and increasing economic productivity with the speed of commerce.”
Virgin Gorda is the second-largest population center of the British Virgin Islands with approximately 3,000 residents. According to the BVI Department Planning Unit, population figures reflect an increase of more than 20 percent within the 10 years, and the BVI government is responding to the growth.
Seaborne is projected to fly 1,500 to 2,000 visitors to Virgin Gorda in the next six months and hopes to increase to daily service by late 2007. A round-trip ticket from St. Thomas to Virgin Gorda will cost approximately $170. Seaborne is introducing round-trip fares as low as $99 through August 5, 2007.
Seaborne Airlines serves the Virgin Islands with daily commercial flights to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Christiansted, St. Croix; Old San Juan, Puerto Rico and now weekend service to North Sound, Virgin Gorda. With two pilots and two engines, the company operates five deHavilland Twin Otter DHC-6 float planes capable of carrying 17 passengers. Seaborne Airlines has safely carried more than one million passengers since 1993, and has been voted best small air transport in the 2007 Best of the V.I. poll.
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