COMMENTARY: Continuing the conversation on the international airport

Gregor Nassief
Gregor Nassief

In a recent interview with a local newspaper I stated that I was “not in favor” of an international airport. As someone committed to developing tourism in Dominica, the comment puzzled many, including the guy that passed me on the street and shouted through his open car window “you are wrong on the international airport”. Most concerning was indirect feedback that I was “anti development”.

It may have been unwise of me to make such a statement without a deeper clarification as to my reasoning.

Many in Dominica simply assume that an international airport will significantly increase stay-over arrivals to Dominica and suddenly boost the industry. This is based on the strong belief that tourists do not come to Dominica because they cannot get a direct flight here. The fundamental challenge for Dominica’s tourism industry is not lack of direct fights, it is lack of awareness of the destination. Most people still have never heard of us, and many that may hear about our island assume we are the Dominican Republic and do not give it another thought. Dominica spends ec$4m annually on destination marketing, St. Lucia spends ec$40m and Barbados ec$135m.

Our tourism master plan calls for an ec$12m annual spend on destination marketing. To increase awareness of our destination thereby increasing demand for our destination, we need to allocate more resources to marketing and improve the effectiveness of our marketing and communication strategies.

There is also the question of economics – the cost to build and operate the airport, as well as whether it makes business sense for international airlines to introduce direct flights to a destination like Dominica – which is fundamental to the discussion. Without an honest assessment of the magnitude of these financial challenges, both to Dominica and to the international carriers, we keep hanging our hopes on the illusion that an international airport is the answer.

Dominica’s air access challenge is one of economics and convenience, not one of infrastructure. With higher demand for our destination, there would be more airlift and better options. The main/scheduled airlines that currently service Dominica have the capacity to carry between 34 and 68 passengers per flight, but on average arrive and leave with 40% – 50% of their seats empty. Many of them are financially challenged to continue servicing Dominica. And we think major international carriers with 200+ seats will suddenly start arriving if we have an international airport? What about Melville Hall? Melville Hall already has an international runway, and can accommodate direct flights form the US with 100+ passengers. A recent study showed that for a single airline to break-even financially servicing Dominica with five directly flights a week from Miami would require 30,000 passengers annually, a number that far exceeds the 18,000 visitors that arrived here from the United States in 2013. The current demand to drive the economics is far from where it needs to be.

Regarding convenience, travellers worldwide are accustomed to going through hubs, getting off one plane, getting on another, and continuing their journey. What they expect, however, is a convenient connection in terms of time/reliability (not having to wait too long for the connecting flight), baggage (baggage going straight through to their final destination i.e. Dominica) and an in-transit connection process (no need to go through immigration and customs and have to check-in again for the connecting flight).

Here is an example of a typical and inconvenient connection: an American Airlines passenger arriving to Antigua, having to go through immigration, pick up their bags, go through customs, go to the LIAT check-in counter, go through another check-in process, pass through immigration, then security, etc. This is the problem we need to focus on solving. We have seen great improvements with Seabourne in San Juan and WinAir in St. Maarten, due to the agreements they have with various international airlines like American, Jet Blue, United, Air France and British Airways, thus allowing and enabling “convenient connections”. “Fixing LIAT” means significant improvement in its service and reliability such that similar agreements with international airlines become possible.

The other challenge to growing our tourism product is the number and quality of hotel rooms available, currently numbering less than 500. St. Lucia has approximately 5,000 and Barbados almost 8,000. To increase the number and quality of rooms we need to create an enabling environment for investing in and operating tourism-based businesses in Dominica. Our fiscal framework and incentives are outdated and uncompetitive, and our VAT rates and energy rates are the highest in the region. We need to change this.

It is useful to reflect on the experience of St. Lucia & Grenada. St. Lucia’s Hewanorra International Airport was built by the US Military and handed over to St. Lucia in 1952 (effectively a gift to the island). It became operational with a new control tower in the early 1970s and did not see serious internationally scheduled flights until 10 years later, when St. Lucia already had over 2,000 hotel rooms and double the arrivals we have today (and that was 30 years ago!). Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport was completed in 1984, also substantially a gift to the island (first built by the Cuban Government, then finished with funding from various donor agencies).

Similarly for Grenada, it took about 10 years to see regularly scheduled international flights, by which time Grenada already had over 1,000 hotel rooms with arrivals exceeding what we have today. Dominica’s international airport would cost approximately ec$1 billion and the key metrics of hotel rooms and visitor arrivals are not nearly where they need to be (note that our tourism master plan’s medium growth strategy goals for the year 2022 are 1,220 hotel rooms, up from less than 500 today, and 127,000 stay-over visitors, up from 80,000 today; so in 2022, if we achieve these goals, we will have less rooms and visitors than St. Lucia did in the early 1980s when its first international flights began arriving).

Dominica’s obsession with an international airport is destructive because we lose focus on the key things we need to do in the short and medium term: increase our marketing spend and marketing effectiveness so that Dominica is increasingly recognized internationally as a tourism destination; create an enabling environment for investing in and operating tourism-based businesses so that the quantity and quality of our hotel rooms can be increased; optimize and grow our airlift to achieve convenient connections with our seven nearby hubs so that we provide visitors with reliable and convenient airlift in and out of Dominica.

If Dominica does these three things then we may actually need an international airport in 10 years. Of course, if in the mean time, a donor country is willing to write a check for ec$1 billion to build one, and we can build it and operate it in a financially and environmentally sustainable manner, then absolutely, lets go for it (although I may still argue strongly that we can use ec$1 billion in much better ways). But even if that happened tomorrow morning, we still need to do the hard work to develop our tourism product and attract a significantly increased number of visitors to our island. If not, we would have built the airport of our dreams but still be dreaming about the visitors that never arrive.

Note: The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of the Dominica Hotel & Tourism Association of which the author is President.

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162 Comments

  1. Francisco Telemaque
    October 21, 2014

    “Nassif comment. Have occur to you that the Chinese are looking out for themselves? Direct flight from china to Dominica with products that won’t be approved for sale in any other country because of the health risk to the public?” (Unknown).

    Madam/Miss/ Mr/ Sir, Unknown; you see, when I counter some of you with the truth of the matter you become irate, and throw tantrums like little two year old kids. Example you accused me of being disrespectful to suggest to the person who claims to be a Dominican by Marriage, to stay out of the affairs of Dominica. Well there is no such thing as becoming a Dominican by marriage, the only way that can be accomplished is by natural birth, or by becoming a naturalized citizen of Dominica! And if you are not a born Dominican, or have some deep personal interest in the country, how on earth you can dip in and dictate to a suffering Dominican what is best for our country?

    Reading your comment in the quote above, is an indication that you are neither here nor there. Wether or not the Chines produce inferior products, Dominicans are not obligated to buy their cheap inferior commodities, even if they flood the country with such products. Besides the Chines cannot simply take it upon themselves and load an aircraft with inferior products in China, and fly to Dominica and dump the products on our people; unless someone in Dominica, even the Nassif’s order such products.

    Have you forgotten the Nassif’s are merchants in Dominica also, they been there for more than a hundred years; maybe a hundred years before I was born!

    Now let me take you to another level. China has the largest population on this green planet, and though China is a communist country, the people do travel out of China on vacation. What is wrong about a million or more Chines visiting Dominica per year. That would keep Fort Young Guess House, with its fifty or how many rooms full, Gregor would benefit directly!

    So, you and Nassif should be very happy to encourage the development of an International Airport, specially to see if we could capture one tenth (1/10) of the traveling Chines, they do spend plenty of money on travel; how come your smarts could not have caused you to see that. One write claims that I hate Gregor, and I am bitter; that is another bit of crap, I have nothing personal against the man, he has not done anything to me to hurt me personally, What I detest is his endeavor to maintain the bourgeoisie status quo in our country. His unfounded rhetoric confuses people like you causing you to write nonsense as found in the quote above. I do not believe that a single peasant with just one ounce of commonsense if there are any alive would agree with this guy that Dominica should not have an International Airport!

    Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

    • dreamer
      October 23, 2014

      By the way, Telemaque : Besides being born in Dominica, what links you to Dominica to allow you to comment on the internal affairs of the country ?
      Do you pay your taxes in Dominica ? Meaning will you be affected by the huge tax increase building another airport would generate ?
      Do you sweat to develop the economy of Dominica ?
      Do you create jobs in Dominica ?
      Do you bring added value to Dominica ?

      • claude henderson
        November 1, 2014

        Like that

  2. Unknown
    October 21, 2014

    In 1997 a small plane carrying about 7 pax crashed in Millville Hall, we had no trained professionals to respond to the seen. We sent SSU with guns to the seen of an accident. The only survivor died at the hospital. Think of an Aircraft carrying about 100 pax, how do we intend to handle such. We need better hospitals, roads, trained emergency personnel, air ambulance ect ect ect before thinking of an international airport.

    • Francisco Telemaque
      October 21, 2014

      You are so backward, that it is not funny, an International Airport is part of the Infrastructure, it a necessity, it is imperative that the Government build an International Airport. I wonder who paid people like you to talk such nonsense! You talking about plain crash, an incident in 1997.

      Let me take you back to around 1958, Only a few months after Melville Hall Airport commenced operating, a light single engine aircraft taking off flying to Guadeloupe, crashed at the end of the Runway, it almost went into the sea, of the three passengers aboard was a priest the only injured passenger, he sustained a broken rib, he was initally treated at the Marigot Hospital, and then transported to the Princes Margaret Hospital.

      The man lived, so this nonsense you are babbling about, they send SUV with guns makes absolutely no sense. Since then an passenger Aircraft Crashed in the mountains between Marigot and Wesley, the pilot was an African, the airline was owned by some Dominica brothers, one of them a medical doctor, another is married to my cousin Kathy in Canada, what is the big deal aircrafts crash everyday, so what are you babbling about!

      Our medical system is not the best, but are you suggesting that we have no medical personal in the country to deal with an emergency. For your information when an aircraft crashes, 99.999% of the time there are no survives.

      The people who paid you to talk such rubbish simply wasted their money. I can accuse a certain man of paying you but I will it slide.

      I know but I doh talking eh! And by the way I do not believe “pax” abbreviates passengers.

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

      Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

  3. Arbitrator
    October 21, 2014

    Wow, I could not have explained it any better Mr.Nassif. I see that you’re very well informed on that subject matter. I wish more Dominicans would educate themselves first before making comments

  4. CYRIL VOLNEY
    October 21, 2014

    Great Analysis, and straight to the point Gregor. We also need our own reliable efficient inexpensive well managed commuter airline (Nature Islands Airways) to Barbados ONLY.

    • Me
      October 22, 2014

      Cyril I a gree. We already have Sam Raphael’s Humming Bird in place and I;m sure his little airline would be quite capable of handling that Barbados connection , IF THEY ARE GIVEN THE PERMIT. That is the problem you see. LIAT exerts such pressure on local governments that healthy competition is all but squashed or not even given a chance of birth. That has to change too!!

  5. no shame
    October 21, 2014

    well said mr. nassief . you could not have said it better. am in total support of this article. the govt. should be looking to you for economic advice. what do you think of a Free Port in the north and tole enterintg both towns (portsmouth and roseau) all that will help d maintanance of our roads. after all america with all its money have tole and wen we drive to Bronx ,to Queens, Jersey we pay . your comments please.

  6. amy
    October 21, 2014

    Where is you common sense, where are the real men in dominica?, why are these IDIOTS making claims they know nothing about.
    Maybe if DA give its young people a chance to run the country, I’m sure they would do a better job that these money hungry power hungry sorry MEN

  7. Anonymous
    October 21, 2014

    Investors won’t take Dominica seriously, if we do not put the infrastructure in place. Furthermore, no country shall see its full potential unless it means for transportation is convenient for investing. Dominica is where it is today because, the travelling public is fearful of flying, and a smaller plane simple makes them avoid the destination.

    • aviator
      October 21, 2014

      again, like St Barths, Anguilla, Nevis, Mustique……. ?

  8. Anonymous
    October 21, 2014

    People will put up with the inconvenience of connecting provided it is done in a timely manner and the airfare is reasonable..

    Air Canada is aggressively marketing Toronto as a hub for US bound traveller flying in from Europe or the Middle East. They have to clear their luggage through Canadian customs and re-check their luggage with the airline. They also have to go though US customs at the airport in Toronto.

    For one thing, connecting flights is not unusual. People do that regularly. They will do all of that if they can save enough money on the air fare.

    • CYRIL Llongting
      October 22, 2014

      Let’s not compare apples with Lemons.

  9. PlutocratforthePoor
    October 21, 2014

    Dominica the land of oppression and daily presence of limitations. 8)

  10. hugo
    October 21, 2014

    ok imagine now you have airport and tourists coming to Dominica … to do what? Enjoy same menu everyday @ Fort Young, wait for 30 minutes for waiter to bring your bill?
    What foreigners can do in Roseau at night?
    How many restaurants in Roseau are safe to visit and not to think about getting food poisoning? 2 or 3 on entire island?
    Any places to eat on Sunday or only Fort Young?
    What about safety? What to do if tourist is in trouble and nobody at police picking up phone?

    You badly need to have foreigners opening new businesses and bring fresh ideas and air into badly smelling reality you call Dominican tourism. But guess what? You don’t really want foreigners making business on the island… and you do everything not to allow international hotel chain to enter the market.

    • Me
      October 22, 2014

      Why would you want to visit Roseau at night? As you say, a dearth of decent restaurants, no activity and paro’s hustling you like rats coming out of a sewer and no policeman in sight. Would you want to take your wife or girl friend to a place like that? That is the reality folks. Govt. took a U.S.$.40 million loan from the Chinese Import-Export Bank part of which was intended for the upgrading of Roseau but guess what. A Palace was built with the same money and Roseau left to rot. Maybe the money ran out after they finished that Palace, which does nothing for the economy and only costs us money, all for the vanity and ego of a few.

  11. Truth
    October 21, 2014

    Folks I believe that Dominica would be better served developing world class cruise ship and mega yacht
    terminals/docks . Also upgrade Roseau’s infer structure, buildings, sewage, install underground power lines in city, and most of all local entertainment and night life… For a start…….
    Folks, even a half dead person knows that any large capital projects undertaken by a local government in a world economic crisis is the sure death of a governing party , financial ruin and slavery of its people!
    Ps. Build an international hospital first!

    • Anonymous
      October 22, 2014

      Roseau is ugly and stinks, period.

  12. Tebay
    October 21, 2014

    No disrespect to Igor but the selfis advise of the Nassim brothers seem to have been discarded in Langkawi by Nanthan,Alick Lawrence and Darroux. It is a disgrace that after 15 years of a dysfunctional tourism industry Nassim is still talking the same crap. Now it was the same people who fought the development of other hotels prior to the dictator period so as to avoid competition yet today the very same guys have lock Jaw when Skerrit is announcing more hotels than pampers and wipes.
    Did Gregor Nassim wait for a visitor Flux in Dominica before building Secret Bay and also the expansion of Fort Young? Both were done in anticipation that their would be growth particularly with the dollar minister and the terminal execution of the agricultural industry.

    • Anonymous
      October 22, 2014

      You pretend to know Dominica and you don’t even know these people’s name. It is Nassief, repeat Nassief, Dominicans now in their fourth generation who created a lot of local employment while plenty of us sit on our backside to criticize and remain illiterate.

  13. discovery
    October 21, 2014

    Totally agree. Let’s go step by step: 1st step is improvement of marketing strategy! and if finally the airport like it is was par of and advantage for the destination (we can reach Paris the same day now)? :wink:

    • aviator
      October 21, 2014

      Yes you can reach Paris in one day now .
      Via 2 airports of your choice . St Maarten to Paris Charles de Gaule, or Pointe a Pitre to orly.

      • Malatete
        October 22, 2014

        You forgot Fort de France (Martinique), which also has daily direct flights to Paris. You can even fly direct to Cuba from there or New York (on American via Miami, in 7.5 hours total).

      • Me
        October 22, 2014

        Very good idea. We have two well equiped international airports right next doors to us in Guadeloupe and Martinique and we should make more use of them. In fact, since Dominica is squeezed in between two French territories that are part of the E.U. it makes more sense to me to make a deal with them rather than the OECS, where we have been talking for years and are no nearer to integration. Our culture and language are similar to those in the French islands, we already are beneficiaries of E.U. grants and assistance so why not throw our lot in with them. We can not compete with bananas from Martinique because they have free access to the E.U. A closer link with these E.U. territories would also make it easier for our citizens to get visa free access to the rest of the E.U., which we are denied today. This is no joke and I am very serious about this.

  14. Shameless
    October 21, 2014

    We have waited too long. Build the damn airport along with the necessary supporting expenditure allocated to marketing the destination. An airport will take over a year so the marketing plan can go into effect right before and during construction. All this BS about we don’t need an international airport belong to the dark ages. I expect an international airport in Dca and that will help decide where I cast my vote. Enough of liat and them little vaunvaun plane. Change Is A Must! If we build it they will come. 8)

    Assertive, NOT Agressive!

  15. Tj
    October 21, 2014

    We need that jet port now! Mr Nassief support the venture

  16. UsualSuspect
    October 21, 2014

    Dude if Dominica had an international airport or if access were present for bigger planes to land, there would not be the need to overnight in MIAMI or SAN JUAN,when you could arrive in DA the same day….do you know of anyone travelling to St.Kitts or St.Marten from the states having to overnight anywhere?

  17. TELL IT LIKE IT IS
    October 21, 2014

    DNO Admin

    So you decided not to post my comment.

    I get it – Gregor or someone in the Nassief family must be your financial backer.

    It’s cool – slavery is alive and well

    PS – No need to post this one either

  18. Wellington
    October 21, 2014

    Great article. I remember when the stadium was being built, I heard things like why we need such a big stadium, who will play there? Build it and they will come. The cost is estimated at 1billion now. 10-20 years from now the cost will triple. People lets not kill the idea before studying it. The proactive nature of a people will determines their future.

    • Anonymous
      October 21, 2014

      Yep, and the stadium is running at a loss too!

    • Anonymous
      October 21, 2014

      Can you honestly say on a cost benefit basis the stadium was a good investment?

      If you were to consider the cost to build, depreciation, maintenance and divide that by the number of events that take place, what do you think the cost per event would be?

      This stadium is definitely not a good investment when you are talking about allocation of resources.

    • free up
      October 21, 2014

      i agree with you

  19. X
    October 21, 2014

    Well put article Mr. Nassief. I have echoed the same sentiments over and over again and yet still we have ppl screaming for an international airport. I travel from France to Dominica and when I get to Guadeloupe, its like a few staff of Air France just waiting for that plane to land and then they go home. Ppl must stop being ignorant. Grow the hell up! And all of these white ppl that commenting here and those living overseas because they too afraid to come back to Dominica, Shut the hell up!

    Well Done Gregor!

  20. Harry Mack
    October 21, 2014

    It is interesting that Mr. Nassief, conveniently, failed to comment on the St Vincent international airport. What would he say to Ralph Gonsalves? Dominica was years ahead towards the construction of an international airport in 1999.
    Is Dominica going to be in this discussion 100 years from now? In 1990 the international airport discussion was in dead heat, and so it has been for every five year cycle. The Labour Party government buried the idea with the rehabilitation of Melville Hall airport, the UWP kept it alive for the last 15 years, now Labour has resurrected it conceding that they made a mistake because Melville Hall has not delivered.
    I agree with Nassief that whether it is Canefield, Melville Hall or the Roosevelt Skerrit International Airport, the situation in Dominica with tourism arrivals will not change, but he has failed to concede that the policies of the current government are responsible for the poor state of the tourism sector, the death of the agriculture industry, the burial of local businesses.
    Gregor’s long article on justifying his objection to the construction of an international airport without making the linkages to the other sectors of the economy is rather selfish.
    If the Government of Dominica had invested 50% of the $27 million dollars spent on the State Palace in destination marketing, would there be a difference?
    It is o.k. for Nassief to make comparisons with the other islands but to make comparisons of convenience borders on deception and what is more alarming is the lack of capacity of Dominicans to analyze on their own. The ignorance of Dominicans is demonstrated in the comments to this article.
    So whereas I understand Nassief’s argument, if we do not take the bull by the horn, muster the courage to build the international airport, this discussion will continue every five years for the next century and every generation will be blamed for not doing it. But history will prove that in 1999 Dominica came the closest to the realization of constructing an I.A.
    Unfortunately, this is one of the projects that its success can only be proven with the common cliches of “Nothing beats a trial but a failure” and “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”. We just have to bite the bullet because no economist, financial wizard or expert can determine or predict the success or impact of an international airport on Dominica.
    Some years ago, the St. Kitts government constructed the road to the southeast peninsular, they were laughed at, today the area has transformed St Kitts. This is another example Gregor should have used.

  21. Me
    October 21, 2014

    I would be happy for now with just proper night landing facilities at Melville Hall. We spent so much money but no jet can land there at night and even Liat pilots on their smaller and slower turboprops do not enjoy coming in at night because you always have to land with tailwind and little opportunity to go round if you overshoot.
    Give me an airport where a Boeing 737 or Airbus 319 can land, night or day and I’ll be satisfied.

  22. Domincan by Marriage
    October 21, 2014

    Wow Guys Mr Nassief has spoken the truth that none of the Politicians are bold enough to make. HE IS BY NO MEANS ANY ENEMY OF DVELOPMENT OR PROGRESS. This is the same Gregory Nassief who called out Liat’s CEO for a horrible decesion to change their fleet in the heart of their high season.(utter foolishness)
    Dominica is in a very unique position (GPS wise) and is surrounded by international airports. Guadelope, Martinique St Lucia Antigua all less than an hour flight away. Barbados San Juan ST Maarten are also within 2 hour range…..You guys seemed to think it cost pittance to build an international Airport. Building it is one thing maintaining it is another…Look at Global trends with Airlines. It;s not cheap to fly these days my freinds. Who do you think will have to pay for the international airport when it is under utilised ????…We have night landing at Melville Hall thank God and lets develop it as much as we can and implement the things that Gregory spoke about. Let me say this too Building and international Airport just because your neighbours have one will be the death of cheap sutainable flights into DA… Remember the Bible say do no Covet your neighbours wife in this case your neighbours International Airport…..

    • Francisco Telemaque
      October 21, 2014

      Well, if you are Dominican by marriage, you need to stay out of our (Dominica) affairs, because simply marring to a Dominican if that’s what you mean does not make you a Dominican!

      Beside, what you and Gregor may perceive to be the truth is total nonsense!

      For your and Gregor’s information only, even the Chines Government advised Skerrit and his cabal, that the only way Dominica will beginning to make some progress is when we Dominicans build an International Airport!

      Haven’t heard this before?

      That should help to open both you and Gregor’s eye! It would appear that everybody who are knowledgeable about this thing, including the government of China are wrong; nevertheless, the less intelligent, and all those who lack the knowledge, and foresight are correct, and have decided to jump upon, and fill Gregor’s Bandwagon!

      some of you do not even know what that man is talking about, but because he has a fifty room guess house his word takes precedence over the rest of people who knows; baloney!

      Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

      • Unknown
        October 21, 2014

        Ok Telemaque, based on a lot of your post here, I take it that you’re an intelligent guy. First of what you said to Dominican by Marriage is very disrespectful. You have not idea what that persons knowledge is on the subject matter. From someone with almost 2 decades of experience in this field, I support most of Mr. Nassif comment. Have occur to you that the Chinese are looking out for themselves? Direct flight from china to Dominica with products that won’t be approved for sale in any other country because of the health risk to the public? Again to my fellow Dominicans and those Dom-in-a-cans, we don’t need what you all consider to be an international airport.

      • JoJo
        October 22, 2014

        So Francisco, what makes you a Dominican? Being born here but making your living in the U.S.A.? Come on, I really would like to hear your take on that and please don’t go into one of your tedious long sermons. Keep it simple. Thank you.

      • Domincan by Marriage
        October 23, 2014

        I dear say Francisco Telemaque that I will not stoop to the level where you are . I am in a much higher category than you to entertain the cow phaeses coming out of your mouth. You obviously think just because you have a mouth and open it whatever comes out is the Law and any objections to it is not worthy. So let me tell you this neither you nor any other person on this forum can stop me from contributing on this National Issue debate. As I am typing this it just dropped into my spirit to invite you to read Proverbs 26:4…It will do you a world of good.
        The issue here is not whether you are Red or Blue Supporter but the hard truth is whether Dominica can afford an international airport. It takes years to build and even longer to reap any financial rewards. I guarantee you that Taxes will have to be raised to help pay for it.
        Besides Dominica is known as the Nature Island of the World……If we promote it better the tourist dollars will start flowing in. Maybe you feel that as soon as an international airport is built it instantly means the Jets will start coming in. I must have you know also I have over 18 years experience Airline Industry so I do know something what I am talking about. The Bible teaches us and Jesus himself too that when your Brother or Sister makes a mistake we all should learn from it…
        Then again your intelligence is so restricted to the mind of penguin it’s impossible for you to learn anything.
        Shalom

  23. One Love
    October 21, 2014

    Nassief instead of seeing POTENTIAL you delve into the HISTORY of a BYGONE ERA in other islands; yet for yourself you moved from OLD Fort Young to NEW Secret Bay…… remember when the Botanic Gardens wall should not be moved? well it was moved and ordinary Dominicans are enjoying the benefits and safety of that move.

    You are wrong and even if by some stretch of the imagination it could be the figure you imagine we are not afraid of your one billion – and sir your fuzzy mathematics is malicious misleading and scary.

  24. La voix
    October 21, 2014

    The issue of an international airport should not be left to the dictates of opportunism but of national importance. When DCP was sold it was an issue of return on investment for capital invested and though this had an adverse effect on the people in surrounding area but the amount received helped the investor.
    The international airport could reverse the slow economic growth by having a multiplier effect and everyone would benefit from this important infrastructure for many years to come.

    • La voix
      October 21, 2014

      By the way the company received an award for excellence in manufacturing amongst the OECS which was received by the current leader of the UWP. An airport should not be a topic for political debate but of national importance because it should not only address foreigners needs but national interest.

  25. Peter J
    October 20, 2014

    Gregor’s views make sense, however, if the powers that be had continued with the initiative of the former government which was well on the way 15 years ago, we would have been seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. At least the UWP airport would be finished and operational or nearing completion, in any case we would have been talking a different language.But we are back to zero with the Charles Douglas airport and LIAT suspending night landing.
    Gregor, take a stand for Dominica, the guys in government must go because they have no vision for this blessed island.

  26. Jaime Lewis
    October 20, 2014

    It would appear that there is much work to be done in preparation for an international airport: we need to spend much more on marketing, we need to increase hotel beds; we need to make the travel experience more user friendly. These are some excellent points that the writer made. Why not have a forum on tourism with all stakeholders to discuss these issues?

    Tourists need to know about Dominica – why are we still confused with the Dominican Republic? After all these years, we are still struggling with our identity. Do we need a name change? For what it’s worth, Dominica still remains largely unknown. We need a serious plan to change that.

  27. October 20, 2014

    My fellow Dominicans. I will add my piece towards the discussion on the internal airport. I am old enough to remember certain things which took place in our country.there will ways some people who wll always oppose certain projects like the international airport , because it is in their own selfish self interest to oppose,as far as i can remember, when the road net work was implemented by the Hon. E. O Le blanc , they criticize it . when the deep water har bour was being built they criticize it , when the cane field airport was being built they criticize it. In fact they said at the time that it was an airport for play boys. these opposers have a vested interest in keeping dominica tightly under their control by keeping out certain developments. It is very simple if you are dicerning . It is all about keeping and maintening their ECONOMIC POWER period!!!

  28. Chow Mien
    October 20, 2014

    Mr Gregor Nassief, If we are to take your argument into consideration, then the average house owner should never build a house, since they get about $2000 a month whilst the average house cost about $400,000.
    Hmmm, if all these proud home owners took your advise then they will all be squatting somewhere in the ghettos living the life of squalor and deprivation.

    If an International airport cost 1 billion today, in 30 years it may jolly well cost 30 billion. You have to spend money to make money, Dominica under your guidance is like the foolish man in the bible who buried his talents because he was afraid of taking risks.(Matthew 25:14-30) Guess what? that man’s talents was taken from him and given to another who was willing to take the risks. In this case the risk take is St. Vincent who is just about to open up their own Argyle International Airport.

    Airport or not, you Mr. Nassief may still be a wealthy man, however many hapless Dominicans will remain marginalised if the status quo remains as is.

  29. October 20, 2014

    The way I see it is that we do not need an international airport in Dominica nor can we afford to operate an international airport. Think about it my people, we do not have nearly enough visitors to Dominica to encourage any international airline to regularly schedule a direct daily flight to our country. The fact remains that no mater how you slice it we are and will always be lagging in development when compared to other islands in the Caribbean. let us remember my brothers and sisters that we were the last of the islands to be colonized. The other islands had nearly a one hundred year head start as far as colonization and development. Also my people we lack the most sort after commodity of the average visitor to the Caribbean, white sand beaches and shallow waters. Eight out of ten visitor to the Caribbean is looking for long stretches of white sand beaches, shallow waters and sun, not to mention an active and bustling night life. Out of the four main criteria’s that I mentioned we can only meet one. I firmly believe that our main objective should be to continue to improve on Melville hall airport, spend more on advertising in the Americas, so that Dominica will be better known, and create ways and means of getting to Dominica with less stress and hustle. Let us remember that in the years that we were serviced by American airlines and American eagle there was no dramatic increase in visitors coming to our country. I do not think that the American tourist would have any apprehensions of having to change planes to get to Dominica if we had more of what the are looking for. Americans go through hubs all the time, the do it every day. So think about it my people unless we can convince the average tourist that ecotourism is the way to go then we will remain at a disadvantage. We have to do a better job of promoting our country both at home and abroad. We are the most diverse of all the islands yet I find myself having to explain to the people that I meet that we are not the Dominica Republic. I have met people from Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica, and quite a few other islands who never heard of Dominica. I am doing my best to help promote my beloved Dominica and I implore all of my fellow countrymen and women to do the same.

  30. CONSCIOUS
    October 20, 2014

    As I travel around and is very proud of telling people i came from Dominica. I find myself spending 30 minutes explaining where is Dominica. I feel so ashamed Dominica is not known by Americans. Another problem i have is that there are many different designs of Dominica’s flag. I find that very is disrespectful.

  31. street side
    October 20, 2014

    that’s why i have divorced myself from Dominica their educated minds are way too timid

    i don’t see anything changing in dominica their mindset isn’t in the right key…

    dominica a small minded island which gravels with the crumbs…

  32. Anthony P. Ismael
    October 20, 2014

    Because of a few villas nestled in the “Bush” in the Giraduel/Eggleston area, we allowed Athie Martin to fool us into believing that Eco-Tourism is the way to go. Let’s take heed and prevent yet another conservative business man to lead us down a path to nowhere. Beware of wolves in sheep clothing.

    • dreamer
      October 23, 2014

      I think M. Martin was right. Eco tourism is the way to go for Dominica . High end eco tourism . High yield, low impact.
      Dominica is not the typical caribbean destination. Visitors coming to our shores look for something different. Not what they find anywhere else.
      90% of the visitors coming to the Caribbean want a sandy beach (white sand) and a calm turquoise lagoon . We need the target the remaining 10% . That’s anyway far too much for Dominica .
      FYI we represent today 0,03% of the total . Far from 10% .

  33. Anthony P. Ismael
    October 20, 2014

    As someone who has read all of Mr. Nassief’s recent articles and given him praise for his letters to LIAT during their “Fiasco” a year ago, I am baffled by some of his statements.
    Omitted in his article is the importance of a “Business Impact Analysis/ or in this case, a Tourism Impact Analysis.” A Tourism Impact Analysis means that every component of the tourism sector is relied upon for the continued functioning of every other sector.
    For example, a visitor could room at Fort Young Hotel during their vacation in Dominica, but enjoy happy hour at the Ruins Bar or Screws Sulfur Spa in Wotten Waven.
    In a recent article, Mr. Nassief favors increased hotel rooms on the island, but he disagrees that anymore should be constructed in the Roseau area. I wonder why. Maybe it’s because that would mean competition for Fort Young Hotel. Like Mr. Marie and Mr. Athie Martin, Mr. Nassief is of the view that Dominica belongs to his “Class” only and they alone should divide the pie amongst themselves.

  34. Anthony P. Ismael
    October 20, 2014

    Mr. Marie’s comments are even more frightening. As a “Recording Engineer,” one wonders whether or not he has embraced technological advancement in his field throughout the years, or whether he still favors recording with ancient technologies?
    Mr. Marie has written several articles urging for damages to be awarded due to copyright infringement and the protection of the artist from “Piracy.”
    It appears that these men are savvy business pros when their financial interest and livelihood are at stake. However, they morph into another “Creature” where Dominica’s economic growth is concerned. And this should frighten and alarm those of us who hold Dominica’s growth ahead of our own interest.

  35. jane messam
    October 20, 2014

    I agree with Mr Nassif totally. Let us spend more money marketing Dominica, improve the infrastructure, build more hotels. Mr Nassif you need to sit with the PM and his administration to help them execute all these things then we can look forward to an international airport in a few years time.

  36. Anthony P. Ismael
    October 20, 2014

    Mr. Nassief was the same individual who “Cried Foul” when the state house was completed and “Fort Young Hotel” would no longer be hosting official government functions as it had been accustomed to.
    While there are many critics who were against the State House Project and its final cost, one cannot disagree with a formal government building capable of hosting official government business.
    Judging from his past actions, is Mr. Nassief the right person/ messenger to be making this case? The answer is no.

  37. Anthony P. Ismael
    October 20, 2014

    Mr. Nassief made some great points and he presented some factual analysis to shed light on the discussion. However, he made some assumptions that are so conservative that Dominica will be in the same position 30 into the future, if we stay the course.
    For starters, you can’t compare being in transit in say Miami International to Antigua. The process is hassle-free without the fear of “Losing luggage and submitting oneself to customs and immigration multiple times while being in transit.”
    If we assume that Dominica can accommodate an additional 18,000 visitors from North America plus the 15,000 that currently visit for a total of 33,000 visitors annually from North America, one would also have to assume that some of these flights will be landing at Melville Hall Airport after 6:00pm (Night Landing).
    The United States Federal Aviation Administration, FAA will not grant permission for any US registered aircraft to approach Melville Hall Airport via the sea/water approach. Mr. Nassief also failed to explain to us how we should solve this problem.
    I do agree that Dominica’s Tourism Budget needs a significant increase, getting rid of VAT and the ridiculous cost of electricity on the island.
    The major problem with Dominica is this: Upper class individuals like Mr. Nassief, Mr. Marie and Mr. Athie Martin who was not mentioned in this article, continue to lead Dominica down a path to nowhere in particular.
    Mr. Martin in particular was the one who convinced Dominicans that Eco-Tourism was the way to go. He forgot to tell them that this was “Niche-Market Tourism” with low stay-over numbers. Dominica is still suffering from this bone-headed decision.
    Moving forward, we can allow the “Upper Class” to continue leading us on a path to nowhere or we can make some bold decisions to help Dominica create adequate jobs for its young population and grow economically.
    Like Athie Martin, Mr. Marie’s business is thriving because of his connection to Guadeloupe and Martinique. The question is, does the remainder of the hotels and guest houses on the island enjoy robust stay-over tourist? The answer is a resounding no.

    • aviator
      October 23, 2014

      quote
      The United States Federal Aviation Administration, FAA will not grant permission for any US registered aircraft to approach Melville Hall Airport via the sea/water approach. Mr. Nassief also failed to explain to us how we should solve this problem.
      unquote

      Your statement is not correct.

  38. xxx
    October 20, 2014

    Dream, dream, dream. Some of the things said can be true, but entertainment is not the only thing tourist want when they travel. Some people just want to relax. If the people like Mr. Nassif think like this Dominica will remain the same forever.
    If every investor think that way, they would never take a risk with their investment. That’s the openion of many black people, they do not invest, but others who do see the benefit of their investment.
    Since he did mention of other countries that gave that particular island a gift to build their airport. Why don’t he talk to the Dom. Tourism Associates and give them some infor on how to obtain gifts for their country. That would probably open the door for financial help in building this airport.
    I do think that it is grately needed, it is true that you can connect on other airlines, but the prices for airfare to Dominica is still too high. Whereas flights from JFK to St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Martin are much cheaper compare to the flights from those same cities to Dominica. Hopefully one day Dominica will have that international airport.
    Dream, dream, dream, we have to keep on dreaming. For the youth of Dominica that are coming up keep on dreaming.

  39. North Star
    October 20, 2014

    It is best to have it than not, If you build it they will come like St.Lucia, Grenada and Barbados did most people don’t come because it’s too difficult to get to DA, no one wants to overnight else where. Haveing to go through customs over and over paying hotels and taxi fees to other places when these funds can be spent in DA and most people don’t come because of the Air Port, if we had an international Air Port people will come visit, build and stay in DA. It may take 10 years like the others but at lest you will have it,if the cost now is ec $1billon can you imagine what it will cost in the future, well think again.

  40. October 20, 2014

    For now this is the last thing Dominica need a international airport .We should work on creating job,Developing agriculture and exporting most of our good.where is Dominica gonna get that kind of money,These people need to do their homework before they coming talking about wanting international airport.Are Dominican willing to pay more taxes to help build it.Most will say no.So stop wanting whay you cnt afford.

    • @
      October 20, 2014

      Very idiotic comment.

    • Not that Dominican
      October 21, 2014

      I know right. Lets afford a State Palace instead. Not even a hospital.

    • Anonymous
      October 21, 2014

      None of these things can increase without the airport.

  41. Francisco Telemaque
    October 20, 2014

    Canada

    “Good day, I read the article and well explained , So lets look for a sponsor to build the Airport. We can investigate and get a sponsor, let asked for help to build the International airport , we already And have job for our young people,”

    To the person in Canada, you need to understand that, nobody; no investor, will simply get up because they hear of a place called Nature island, or Dominica, and decide to go there and spend their money in the building , or development of an International Airport.

    That effort have to come from the government and people of Dominica. The money must derive from the Taxpayers Treasury, either that way or the government must secure a lone from some foreign government, or a bank operating in Dominica. The UWP took the route of borrowing money from the government of Trinidad & Tobago, in addition to that The Peoples Republic of China, (the Chines government) gave free money to the UWP when Edison James was Prime Minister of Dominica. The Taiwan government gave a certain amount of Money to the UWP for free, in the form of a grant; anywhere I use the word free means a grant, grants are not paid back. They also instituted a loan, of which the interest was only 4%. Just prior to Edison James and the UWP loosing the election; construction of the International Airport was started, nobody can deny that if they do someone need to remind them that the Secondary School in Wesley was part and parcel of the project.

    As soon as the coalition government, lead by my friend the late Roosevelt Douglas, Athie Marten, Pierre Charles, not forgetting young boy dimples face Roosevelt Skerrit, big eye Ian Douglas, and me cousin Her Majesty Gloria Dodds Shillingford, and company siege power, the first thing they did was shut down the building of Dominica’s International Airport you know; let us remember, the government of Trinidad & Tobago lent us eighty (80%) of the cost it would take to build the Airport, assuming the coat was one dollar, they lent us 80 cents, the remainder of twenty cents came from China, and Taiwan. Rosie Douglas said that was not enough money. Ian Douglas said what Dominica need is a loft loan interest free, they compounded their lie by saying that they had people lined up to go to Dominica and build Airport, for far less, and matter of fact a fraction in comparison to the three hundred million plus dollars the UWP was spending to build the airport; but fifteen years later, all we have is the blue red, and green lights on the runway at Melville Hall.

    The day the coalition Labor Party took power they ordered the Contractors from Trinidad, along with Engineers out of the country, and squandered the money on that thing at Melville Hall talking about night landing, that was the wish of people such as Gregor, and his other Nassif relatives. By the same token the same amount of Money the Chines and Taiwan governments gave to Dominica, they gave to Ralph Gonzalez; only that Gonzalez built his people an International Airport in St. Vincent, while he made a fool out of Roosevelt Skerrit by spoon feeding him the idea that our country does not need an International Airport, and told Skerrit what he gave us is all our nation needs. However, Argyle International Airport will be in full operation in a matter of days, I hope they invite Skerrit to the opening ceremony, and laugh in his silly face!

    Anybody who suggest that an International airport will not be beneficial to our country, is an enemy of the people of Dominica. That is worst than treason. Had it not been for the International Airport in Antigua that island nation would long be bankrupt, I know that for a fact, how do I know? My former Antiguan born wife was an executive in the Antigua government treasury, hence I am privy to information I got from her, long before we immigrated to the United States, so when guys like Nassif are shooting fart, I know better! Antigua International attracts foreigners to the island, that is why there so many foreign people buying land and building homes on the island, unlike Dominica. Has Gregor ever heard of Mill Reef in Antigua?

    Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

    • anonymous
      October 21, 2014

      Mr. Telemaque,
      It hurts to know that you are originally from Dominica and behave that way. If you only sit again and read what Gregor has penned, you will notice that his point carries alot of weight and they also call for serious and indepth consideration. Look at the example and figure derived from our windward island sisters.Read again sir

      • Titiwi
        October 21, 2014

        Don’t worry about Francesco. He always fires from the hip, a whole magazine when one bullet will do.

  42. Anonymous
    October 20, 2014

    I guess if we were to follow your argument the government would not build highways because they are unprofitable and expensive to maintain.

    The one statistic you failed to mention is that Dominica is the only nation state in the entire Caribbean without an international airport. If you mentioned this fact you would have had to explain why this is so.

    You also failed to mention that few international hotel chains would even consider opening a franchise in Dominica without international air access. Ofcourse that suits you just fine.

    I agree with your point on marketing. It is a joke the peanuts we spend on marketing Dominica as a tourism destination. But increased marketing will also increase the demand for more hotel rooms. I dont see how an
    international airport would hurt our drive for more hotel rooms.

    • Dream
      October 21, 2014

      People don’t come to a country to visit an international airport, they come because of the attractions the country has to offer be it manmade or natural. Also not because your neighbor has a lexus you should have one even if you can’t afford it. Based on all the information provided by the government and the description of the economy by the UWP it is difficult for one to see how Dominica can afford an international airport at this time at cost that might exceed $1billion. For these reasons the analysis submitted by Mr. Nasseif makes sense.

    • Anonymous
      October 22, 2014

      Are you forgetting that we pay a hefty road tax every year but perhaps that money is not applied to maintenace of these roads, judging by the poor state most of them are in.

  43. Tragic
    October 20, 2014

    …and furthermore…the argument that our disadvantage is merely due to our marketing budget is complete and utter hogwash!

    Dominica needed an int’l airport 20-30 years ago. If we don’t make the investment now, then when?

    Yes, marketing is VERY important. But pricing and convenience of travel are even more so! Paying double to visit Dominica vs. St. Lucia/Bdos/Antigua will definitely dissuade arrivals to Dominica. Spending an 8-12 hours to get to a destination I can reach in 4 hours, will certainly play a factor. Lets remember there is competition, and lots of it, we cannot fool ourselves into thinking that the average traveler will go through the hassle, in droves, to get to our shores!

    The example of St. Vincent’s airport conjures up images of a college student. Yes, you might be broke for the years in which you put your education first, but you make the sacrifice and investment to build a brighter future. If you drop out for a dead-end job and quick cash, is your future suddenly brighter? St. Vincent is struggling to get their airport up and running; in 20-30 years while they are refining their tourism product Dominicans should still be debating IF its time for an int’l airport?? Really??!!

    Come again Gregor!

  44. dissident
    October 20, 2014

    I think your motivation is to see Fort Young and Secret Bay as Dominica “international brand” hotels

    No international airport and no Royal Caribbean.

    That’s why our tourism industry is so mediocre.
    Like we in experimental stage.

    That’s my opinion

  45. Tragic
    October 20, 2014

    Yet another case to remain conservative, refrain from taking risk, then wonder why we remain stagnant. Dominicans would be foolish to think that at any point in their development building an int’l airport would be an easy feat. It requires, work, vision, planning, work, and more hard work.

    While Mr. Nassief preaches conservatism, his family owns Fort Young, KFC, Island Rent A Car, and the Nassief general store. It is therefore quite convenient to claim you do not need an international airport, when you have a competitive advantage in all the major tourist-related sectors (food, lodging, car rentals, etc.)

    No one suggests walking blindly into an Int’l airport venture, nor are Dominicans foolish enough to believe that the economy/tourism, etc. will SUDDENLY improve. But if we do not place ourselves in a competitive situation vis-a-vis our neighboring islands, why are we to think we will EVER be ready?! Are we to continue creating hotels that remain empty until the day the airport comes? Come on!

    • Calibishi Warrior
      October 20, 2014

      Was reading your reply and buying int the risk/ reward thing and them … boom you exploded the whole thing with the narrow minded petty and jealousy tinged rant about the man’s family instead of dealing with the numbers presented … people need to look out for signs like this which show up the vindictive and negative among us and are the real agents of our disunity and destruction.

    • Aviator
      October 21, 2014

      St barth, tortola, mustique, bequia, anguilla, nevis…….

  46. Ms. Educator
    October 20, 2014

    My name is Ms. Educator and I approve this message.

    Not even if we have sufficient hotel rooms to bed the tourists…what entertainment are we going to provide them with?? We know that Dominica is severely lacking in nightlife entertainment.

    Just another seasoning to add to the pot.

  47. Mc Carthy MARIE
    October 20, 2014

    Mr. Nassief your commentary on the question of an international airport for Dominica mirrors my point of view exactly. I had been tempted on more than one occasion to write an article on the folly of an international airport , but I have become a bit tired of seeming to be the only person with a rational view on these matters. It is indeed refreshing to have you for company so that hopefully matters of national concern can be discussed on the basis of facts rather than prejudice and ignorance. Thanks for speaking up.

  48. Frank Talker
    October 20, 2014

    I agree with Gregor’s conclusion. I honetly do not believe that airlines will suddenly begin flying to Dominica JUST because we built an international airport. Airlines fly where passengers need to go. The number of would-be visitors who cancel their flights to Dominica because of island-hopping are not that many to justify building an airport. Without sufficient traffic in and out of Dominica, the burden to maintain the airport will have to be borne by taxpayers.

    • anonymous
      October 21, 2014

      And to add, we need to market the island for what we say it is and not rush to build high rise,concrete jungle type structures just in the name of accommodation

  49. Anonymous
    October 20, 2014

    So if we are all in agreement with Gregor, one has to ask on what basis is UWP promising to build an international airport in Dominica?

    Are they just playing politics to buys votes without a care in the world for the figures?

    In that case one has to ask, as they ready to govern?

    For the record, I do not vote and have no dog in the UWP or DLP fight. These are just questions.

  50. Just Observing
    October 20, 2014

    Here is a man who is not afraid to call “a spade” by its rightful name – “a spade”. He presented arguments that any sober minded policy maker would want to listen to. Any development planner would want to review. He did not write-off an international airport for Dominica. What he did he present arguments that – the other side of the fairy tale arguments for an international airport. The jury should remain out for a bit longer on this matter. What I am sure of and Mr. Nassief alluded to is that any significant borrowing of money for such a huge project (EC $1 billion) is patently foolish and at best mischievous. With so many hubs around us and the international airlines pulling out gradually preferring to amalgamate, then prey, tell me. Where will we get the international flights from to add Dominica to their existing routes. Imagine British Airways adding Dominica to its already crowded air routes between St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada and Antigua. Air France adding Dominica to Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Marteen. American Airlines adding Dominica to St. Lucia, Grenada, Antigua, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, St. Marteen and Puerto Rico.

  51. Gasparo Contarini
    October 20, 2014

    What in heavens name is wrong with you people? Nassief should throw a banana at you people, St.Vincent just built an international airport, GeeZ man u all make it look like Dominica full of idiots.

  52. be wiser
    October 20, 2014

    Fransisco Telemacque Dodds. you must learn to inform yourself. The British government is building an airport on St Helena , cost 250 million pounds …..$1billion EC dollars. Dont take my word for it, go online on BBC.com. are you going to lend us the money. No body else will

    • JoJo
      October 21, 2014

      Yes, I see that but that is not for tourists but strategic reasons. Different thing altogether. After all that is how St. Lucia got their international airport at Hewanora for nothing.

  53. badrep
    October 20, 2014

    Ive always said that Dominica does not need an international Airport, all that is needed is good and frequent connecting flights from St Maarteen, i have flown from US into st maarten and connected to Dominica in 7hrs, USAIR have 2 flights into ST maarten in time to connect with WINAIR or BVI AIR. into Dominica.

  54. JoJo
    October 20, 2014

    I know it is painful to admit but Gregor Nassief has a very valid argument. Let’s ask ourselves, how cost-effective is the current Melville Hall airport. I wish the govt. would publish figures on that but I bet the expense of financing (incl. existing loans) and maintenance alone exceed the income. We can not claim that Melville Hall is very busy and it is very much underutilized. It can handle jets of the 737 type coming direct form N. America but none do come and that is simply because there not enough passengers so we have build a demand first.

  55. Malatete
    October 20, 2014

    Mr. Nassief, I know the economics of aviation, especially passenger transport and you’ve hit the nail on the head. Wishful thinking is the poor cousin of reality. Airlines would come, even with the existing limited facilities at Melville Hall if we can provide them with passengers to fill their seats. Currently it is not even attractive for LIAT to continue servicing us on a regular basis. I wish though they would go in for proper interlining arrangements with all the major international carriers servicing our regional hubs. It is ridiculous for one to arrive say from London on BA or Virgin in Barbados and having to go through immigration, collect luggage, clear customs and reverse the process all over again by having to check in with LIAT for a connecting flight to Dominica if you are already holding a reservation for that flight. A process, by the way that will entail seven stamps in your passport, for a return trip if you happen to travel on a Dominican one.

  56. Mr Charles
    October 20, 2014

    Well said Mr Nassief. Now if only government and the persons in charge of tourism would get together round a table and talk. Why not start by striking a deal with some of ther package holiday companies such as virgin holidays. And with being rude I will say that beautiful island has more ignorant fools both on the island and overseas than a can of sardines.

  57. Thank you!
    October 20, 2014

    Love this article!

  58. Androcles
    October 20, 2014

    Mr Nassief it appears that you hold very strong views that you back up pretty well. Sir, a good salesman is one who forces you to buy what he sells whether it is good bad or ugly so I will call you a good salesman. Yes the international airport requires a lot of frank and honest discussion cause it will be basically going into the unknown.
    However, Sir your commentary contained one statement that exposed your bias. You said that Melville Hall has international runway that can haul in 100 plus folks at a time. Mr Nassief, when did this happen? Are you referencing the 2009 general elections that you guys allegedly financed? You should know that this was not a commercial flight so why did you put it in the otherwise brilliant expose? Are you daying that because a cricket pitch in Dublanc is 22 yards long it is suitable for test cricket? You well know the length of the runway is not the problem. So I propose that we take the runway at Melville Hall and put it someplace where it will be safer for the planes to land and take off. I fully support you on the marketing aspects of your submissions.

    I mean Tortola doesn’t have an international airport though they have a long long runway yet people leave Australia and go to a broken down unkempt place called Boomba Shack every full moon just to drink some mushroom tea. So yes access has to tweak with marketing for it to happen. So how do all these people get to Tortola? Most fly into San Juan where there is an international airport.

    • Me
      October 21, 2014

      No Androcles, a good salesman is one who persuades you that you need what he has got to offer. You will hardly ever go back to the salesman who forced you to buy and if you do so, only under duress!

    • Aviator
      October 21, 2014

      Some airlines have been studying the opportunity to fly from florida to Melville direct and this is not a problem.
      This can be done with B737, embraer 135-45, BAE 146…….

      • Malatete
        October 21, 2014

        I would also include the Airbus A320 in this list, a remarkable twin jet that is certified for landing on 4,800 ft. runways (dry). In fact British Airways operate two of them successfully for direct daily flights from London City airport to JFK New York (one stop at Shannon in Ireland on the outward leg for a fuel top up but pre-U.S. immigration in Ireland, which saves a lot of time upon arrival in the U.S.A.)

  59. Enthusiast
    October 20, 2014

    Mr. Nassief clearly makes the point in support of an international airport sooner rather than later in his reference to the St Lucia and Grenada experiences. Both Islands according to him took 10 years to see serious internationally scheduled flights to these destinations ; and also within that period St Lucia got to 2000 rooms and Grenada 1000.
    This therefore proves the point that the Airport undoubtedly became a facilitator for serious investments in Hotel rooms. It would appear that Mr. Nassief is of the view that St Lucia and Grenada had the Cart before the Horse, but Dominica would have it right by having the rooms before the Airport. I don’t think so. Mr. Nassief needs to tell us though from the St Lucia and Grenada stay over experiences what percentage of these stay overs actually come by regular scheduled international flights and what come by chartered flights.

  60. christian
    October 20, 2014

    Let’s be honest here……Dominica does not need more tourists right now because the ones that come today will be disgusted and go back to their homeland and talk about how dirty it is, the crime and the government corruption.
    Dominica….fix yourself before inviting others to see what a mess it is.

  61. Anonymous555
    October 20, 2014

    my fren gregor…man you right on point i’ve say’n this to people for how lng but i guess with the obsession nobody was listenin nw that you’ve put it in the way i couldn’t hope everybody read this article a 100 hundred times to get it in their heads…well written sir…hope lenox and the rest take your advise….. 8) 10 thumps up

  62. Morihei Ueshiba
    October 20, 2014

    Stupes Only a …..would not want an international airport in there country, how the hell you expect more visitors if u don’t have better access, you want dem to anchor outside fort young! 8)

    • De Caribbean Change
      October 20, 2014

      DE man is right. we need more classic hotels and rooms and more motels and classic restaurants in DA and a bigger population to encourage the idea of an international airport. who is going to fly to DA with so few people aboard and return to your base with an empty airplane – nobody on board. we just don’t have the population for an international yet unlike the other islands who still have their own challenges inspite of it all. we can do good with the upgraded and improved melville hall for now. all we need to do now is to continue improving mellville hall with all that is needed and continue building more hotels and motels and restaurants and stop paying lip service to these important things. what is going on with castaways hotel and layou river hotel project? we need to rebuild these hotels in st joseph. what is going on with the promised 5-star hotel in woodfordhill? the high end hotels in the north? the promised chinese hotel in roseau? our government need to be working. we need a marina at the cabrits to complement the new morocco hotel. all those things need to be in place before we can entertain an international. we need a modern state of the art hospital in roseau/goodwil and turn the PMH into a primary care hospital. we need to demolish Pound and zone the area for commercial use only. all those things we need to work for and whatever else Nassief has reiterated. people stop being obsessed with an international. we need an improved roseau and its infrastructure.

      • De Caribbean Change
        October 20, 2014

        we also need an improved hospital in both Portsmouth and Marigot and a new hotel in Marigot close to melville hall.

  63. Francisco Telemaque
    October 20, 2014

    Gregor, it is okay for you to sit in Dominica and play big-shot and pretend you know it all, but this is not the days when people would hear “master Nassif” talk and simply say well if “massa” say so is true.” Dominicans are capable of thinking for themselves. As Anonymous who resides on the East cost told you to tell them which or where can they get a flight to Dominica in one day. You would have to be a god to answer that! I can tell you when my father died, my daughter and I left Los Angeles California at 11:00 PM one night, we did not arrive in Dominica until eighteen hours later, and mind you we had to overfly Dominica, landing in St. Lucia, and then get on LIAT to Dominica, which until today my have not yet received her luggage.

    You know something under normal circumstance a jet powered aircraft would have taken no more than six hours to fly direct from any of the five International Airports operating in a radius around Los Angeles, and that includes Los Angeles International Airport.

    Now here is what I wish to bring to your attention. I spoke with a relative of mine over the weekend, I will not mentioned his name without his permission, but I will simply say this he worked for Cable & Wireless in Dominica, until his retirement. We got in a simlar convessation, I told him about the way my friends in Germany reacted when they found out it would be a waste of time trying to travel to Dominica. To my surprise, my cousin told me he found some people in Austria who wonted to go into business with him, arranging, and organizing tourist tours from Austria to Dominica.He told me when it got down to the final analysis, the Austrians discovered it was much more difficult, and expensive to travel to Dominica from Austria; so what did they do they took their business to somewhere; where it is more economical to operate. And that is the problem we have in Dominica, anything we try to do in Dominica there are obstacles in our way.

    I faced that obstacle in 1977 or there about when we brought our ship out of Germany, and Denmark, the first people to have given us a job to bring some cargo to Dominica, was “a Nassif’ we went to Puerto Rico and picked up a shipment of white flour and brought it your peoples supermarket, after we offload your flour, we were in for almost a month, cannot get a blade of nothing to transport, we left empty, by the time we got to St. Lucia, we were overloaded going to Barbados. By the time we got to Barbados, and offloaded we got as much cargo to take to Trinidad. Dominica is different, and that poor and backwardness is caused by people the bourgeoisie like you!

    If we build an International Airport, and do nothing to advertise Dominica as a tourist destination, it will not help. Nevertheless, people like you hope that someone will go to sleep, and dream of Dominica, and wake up and be on their was to see mass Nassif at Fort Young. The only Dominican in Hotel business in Dominica, advertising Dominica on Prime Time Television in the United States, and is also seen in Canada, is Sam Rafael of Jungle Bay, he dosen’t get on DNO and talk crap as you have done so often. People such as I are doing more to advertise Dominica in America; whereas you have done nothing excepts talk, and put that stupid comical video on Face book, all that will do is repel the tourist from Dominica.

    Set the people free Gregor, the time of freedom have long arrived, massa day no longer exists! And by the way the name of the our ship in question was the MV Felskove!

    Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

    • Anonymous555
      October 20, 2014

      mr telemacque did you jus go n buy a ship to transfer cargo to dominica without gettin the facts about ur own country/ merchants thats why its only flour you was carryin with ur level of education i thought you start from small to grow not jus go n buy a ship and come say AYE people we hav a ship put load on it lets go dominica …so is so it those go ner..i thought you do the ground work or (investigative work ) see wats the capacity then you move forward to buy a ship u advertize (do ur marketing) then move on…so we talking about int’l airport we go n build one then we hav to wait for hotels to be built then we hav to do the marketin which takes time like 2-3 yrs then we hav to talk to int’l airline to see how they can disrupt their normal to accommodate us then we hav to make sure we can get at least 1000 passengers a week from the us…so i’m askin how do we process mr telemacque…whislt the other hubs are struggling…

      • Francisco Telemaque
        October 20, 2014

        Well since you ask perhaps I should tell you. When we decided to get out of Europe, where we worked between Denmark, and Cuxhaven and Hamburg in West Germany. We were based in Antigua.

        There were no Flour in Dominica for months, not even one ounce, the Nassif’s were looking for a ship to or boat to go to a place in Puerto Rico called Guanineca to pick up four hundred bags of flour, so they contacted someone in Antigua who hooked us up, and so because I am Dominican, who did not wish our people to be with such commodity, suggested we go and get the flour for Dominicans sake, not so much for the money, nor the Nassif’s benefit.

        Eventually, we hired about four Dominicans, our Chief Engineer, I haired, he is dead now if you ever heard of a guy called Kid Cobra a former Dominica Boxer, a Bajan guy named Bynno brought him to Antigua where he had a couple of fights, after the fights were over, he decided to stay in Antigua, that’s when we hired him.

        Cargo is very hard to for ships to obtain in Dominica, and the reason is because nothing is manufactured and exported out of the country, the only thing one may get are some bananas, and plantain, and other agricultural products to take with a huckster to Barbados, or Antigua.

        Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

      • Francisco Telemaque
        October 20, 2014

        “about int’l airport we go n build one then we hav to wait for hotels to be built then we hav to do the marketin which takes time like 2-3 yrs then we hav to talk to int’l airline to see how they can disrupt their normal to accommodate us”

        Let me tell you something about what you stated in the above quote: I simply wish to inform you that your sentiments here are not altogether true. It does not take that length of time to negotiate; the important element is to securing of a flight route, to the destination, i.e Dominica, to Miami or New York, or any other State in the United States, Canada or Europe.

        Once that is accomplished, if the Airline is a national one, flying from Dominica to any of the mentioned destination, space will have to be rented in both the departure, and arrival terminal, and staff hired, there is also something called space sharing, if that cannot be accomplished some airlines do handle the affairs of others in a foreign country, when you book a flight In Dominica via LIAT, and are connect to any Airline in Antigua, Barbados going to any part of the world that is handled by sometimes a series of other airline, though LIAT must disperse the proceeds of what you pay for the flight on other airlines you connected with.

        Now assuming that Dominica International Airport goes into operation tomorrow, and the news broke in England, or anywhere in Europe, and North America, and a thousand people from any part of the globe decided to book a flight to Dominica, a route would automatically be established, as long as there is enough activity to cover the expense of bring people to Dominica. If we build an International Airport, and do no advertising Internationally, nobody will know about Dominica, and it might become a red herring , but that is not anticipated!

        No longer can the Labor Party say to Dominicans ” Antigua and Barbados have one already” so it only thing preventing us from building an International Airport in our country is nothing more than the narrow minded and backward mind of the Prime Minister, and his party.

        Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

    • Ms. Educator
      October 20, 2014

      Man you sound really hateful and bitter…what do you have against ‘Nassief’?

      Don’t bother to answer me…you’ll just spit back with more senseless bitter ranting.

      • Francisco Telemaque
        October 20, 2014

        I do not have to respond to people like you who are uneducated, can’t think for yourself, you follow the bourgeoisies who are keeping your country down, and has done so for almost a hundred years!

        I do not have to be bitter, there is nothing in Dominica I want, I live a very good life, all of my children are well off too, they are all Antiguan born, and if they do not wish to live forever in America, they can return to Antigua where they will live a better life than if they attempt Dominica.

        If you do not believe me ask yourself why almost thirty-thousand Dominicans are now living as second class citizens in Antigua?

        Your answer should be the International Airport is what makes Antigua a better place to live, and survive than Dominica. How come International Airports work for Trinidad, they have two or there, Grenada, St. Lucia, soon St. Vincent Argyle will be completed, Barbados, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, St. Martin, Jamaica, not forgetting Guyana, in South America, all have International Airports functioning, doing well supporting the economy of the countries mentioned, nevertheless, where it pertains to Dominica, the Labor Party, and their puppets influence your kind, that boat is better for Dominica than an International Airport.

        This is the twenty-first century, nothing remains the same, even Gregor ancestors went from the merchandising business, selling grocery , and apparels, to the plantations where they paid slave wages, to now he operates a guess house he calls hotel.

        Can’t you see that something is wrong with people like you? If you really think I am hateful and bitter, you are nothing more than a fool, I suggest you examine your mentality before you open you mouth and talk garbage. As soon as people talk the truth which (things like you) cannot understand or deal with, you are prepared to run off your mouth talking about hate, and bitter. Who the heck have time with that nonsense. I experience the hardship of getting to Dominica, do you think it is an easy thing to live with when your mother and grandmother died, and because you could not get a direct, or connecting flight to Dominica, you have to live with the knowledge that you do not know where your parents are buried!

        That is the agony I have to deal with for the rest of my natural Life, so just shut your mouth okay!

        I could not go to Dominica today, and identify where my parents are buried, all because uneducated idiots like you say we do not need International Airport in the country, and have done all you can to prevent a progressive government from building one.

        Shut up, just shut up, you dumb idiot; I do not care for you obnoxious remarks!

        Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

      • Malgraysa
        October 21, 2014

        Envy poisons the soul and warps the mind. Why not use your energy to emulate successful people?

    • aviator
      October 20, 2014

      just so you know :
      Reminder : St Maarten offers same day connections to and from New York, (JFK and Newark) with Jetblue or Continental,
      Miami,with American airlines
      Atlanta with delta
      Boston with Jetblue
      Charlotte with US air
      Chicago with United
      Fort lauderdale with Spirit
      Philadelphia with USAir
      Washington with United
      Paris and anywhere in Europe with Air France and KLM
      France with Air Caraibes
      Toronto with Westjet
      ……
      And for your specific request :
      Anywhere in Germany or in Austria to either Paris CDG or Amsterdam (many flights) then on Air France or KLM to St Maarten, connecting direct to Dominica with a choice between Winair and Liat.

      Simple facts. Yes , it has become easy to reach Dominica in 1 day from Europe or the Eastern part of the US.

  64. Doc. Love
    October 20, 2014

    I am very pleased DNO is protecting it self from this outrageous commentary by a man who knows better. Mr. Nassief is accusing a Dominican for the statement that he is standing in the way of development, I, too, agree. Mr. Nassief is saying, Dominica would need tourist arrival via the international airport of 30,000 and at present there are only 18,000 tourists coming to Dominica with our present situation. Why doesn’t Mr. Nassief believes an additional 12,000 tourists would not visit Dominica, if an international airport was available. I am sure Mr. Nassief has heard the disclosure, over and over again, the UWP when in Government, will increase the marketing budget. Presently, the outgoing DLP Government has broken ground for several hotels. I am sure, the UWP will not only rely on what the Government has done in terms of hotel occupancy, but also improve many more of the country’s hotel space.

    • aviator
      October 20, 2014

      you did not read properly. 18000/300000 is from the US only concerning a direct flight.

  65. Oh Yes
    October 20, 2014

    Powerful defense of your stance. Many people still do not know about Dominica. Tourism product development precedes the airport to a certain point then they can be developed simultaneously.

  66. October 20, 2014

    Again, anything that doesn’t favor your political ideology isn’t printed. The author of this article has shown substantiated facts compared to your Novice person who thinks that building an international airport will automatically solve the woes of Dominica. Whether we agree with his findings or not it does make sense.
    Quite often we see the political aspirants with unfounded facts and innuendos try pondering to the masses and the news goes hey Y, only to be recalled or restated. Why do educated Dominicans give a person who is ill mannered so much credit, telling us an international airport will automatically change and create mass employment. People, before they speak they should do the research. Are we still going to build the bridge to connect the French Islands?

    • Tragic
      October 20, 2014

      Gregor’s piece is peppered with the terms “SUDDENLY” and now you offer that Dominicans think an int’l airport will “AUTOMATICALLY” solve the nation’s woes. Actually, Dominicans are used to hard work, they know this won’t be easy and there will be a lot more to do after the airport is constructed to maximize its benefits. No one who understands the issue claims an overnight success…so stop trivializing the fact that Dominica can only become a competitive travel destination with improved air access!

      If only the miracle could all be in the marketing budget…

      Just think about this: If Dominica has an equal marketing budget as St. Lucia, but an “average” North American can pay less than $500 r/t to St. Lucia, why would s/he suddenly decide to pay double the price and travel time to get to Dominica? Think about the price differential for a family of four?!

      Dominica’s economy needs a jump start. It won’t be quick, easy and pain free, but this idea of slow growth when we are already behind has failed us for 30+ years. It is time we become bold, decisive, and a bit more confident. I’m sure the Nassief’s didn’t gain so much market share in Dominica by being conservative and waiting for the population to increase, incomes increase, etc. etc. They took risk, worked hard, and made it work! Dominicans would be wise to follow their actions and not their words!

  67. October 20, 2014

    Gregor, thanks for shedding light on a topic that could be so easily resolved by simply bringing you and the other tourism stakeholders in a forum to discuss it. I mean how difficult was that? I lived and worked oversea as an Civil Engineer, and one of the things I remember hearing about a lot is Cost Benefit Analysis, and the data to support the reason for building or construction of infrastructure or any other project for that matter. Data does not lie and the government is in a better position to concur, if not lead these discussions. I mean whether you support one party or the other this is just common sense which I suspect Dominica is lacking and needs more of at this point. Moving forward, what we need is something called a “Think Tank” where people of diverse professional background can actually have discussions in areas of their expertise or be asked their opinion about projects for our country to get more benefit from these projects. If am not mistaken Vince Henderson tapped into the President Clinton organization which has a Think Tank component to seek advice and funding for the Geothermal Project.

  68. bougla
    October 20, 2014

    same day connectivity makes all the difference. it does not matter too much if there isnt a direct flight. Liat should try very hard to ensure that that is same day connectivivity form all the major international hubs. Sometimes 2 to 3 days are lost just trying to get to da or out from da.

  69. hospitality
    October 20, 2014

    Brilliant!!!!!

  70. Francisco Telemaque
    October 20, 2014

    Many in Dominica simply assume that an international airport will significantly increase stay-over arrivals to Dominica and suddenly boost the industry”(Gregor Nassif).

    Gregor, you are nothing more than blowing in the wind.

    I do not care how you articulate your rhetoric, I will tell you straight up your are talking nonsense no matter how you polish it. Indeed an International Airport will bring more people to the island, hence more people will overnight on the island, that will cause your kind to benefit. Gregor, when a tourist Ship drops anchor in Dominica, it remains in port for a matter of between eight, and nine hours. The tourist disembark, some walk around Roseau, some may, or may not drive to some parts of the island sightseeing , when they are hungry they head back to the ship, most of the souvenirs they could have bought in Dominica are sold on the Ship.

    I hope you understand where I am going with this. We all know most working class people save for their vacation, the average length of vacation time one gets; be they European, or North American amounts to ten days, in many cases more. So one can expect an vacationing tourist arriving by air in Dominica would probably spend at least seven or nine days on the Island, how much do you anticipate that vacationer would have spent in seven days in comparisons to eight hours stay on a ship?

    So, you see how silly is your confounded argument? Listen guy I lived in West Germany, I introduced my country Dominica to my friends, okay, when I was ask how can they get to Dominica, by the time they hear flying for two hours to London, then they may have to overnight there then fly to Antigua, or Barbados, overnight there again and then fly to Dominica on a commuter aircraft such as LIAT, their response was always “we would be better off flying to Las Palmas in Spain or the Canary for less in than two hours and commenced having fun.” Take a “qu” out of that see if your rhetoric makes sense?

    Because I do not want to be too long and bore you I will be back with another example.

    Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

    • Negre Bod LaMer
      October 20, 2014

      Oh, God! Please don’t make him come back :(

    • Just blaze
      October 20, 2014

      Your comment makes no sense. Mr nassief gave stats. Concrete numbers. You just mentioning a few friends you have from Germany. You sound uneducated.

      • Francisco Telemaque
        October 21, 2014

        Here are my accomplishments academically!

        a. Associate in Arts, in the Liberal Arts

        b. Associate in Science in Electronics

        C. Bachelor in Science; Electronic Engineering

        D. Bachelor in Science; Electrical Engineering

        Health Science Major; showed great proficiency, know enough about medical science, and medicine which I can use to save your bloody life.

        Now that I have given you my academics accomplishments; state yours let us make comparison, to see which of us are better educated. My name is Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque, straight out of the Village of Wesley, who the heck are you, I am not fictitious nor fake!

        And by the way, I can make a living as a carpenter, or a motor mechanic if I wish; I am multi-talented, my gifts are from God; so just shut up; neither you nor anybody in Dominica have anything to tell me, and surly can’t bring me down to your level.

        You can believe Nassif if you wish, Gregor do not think for me, I am in control of my faculties, I am not easily impressed with the self centered opinions of any Dominica bourgeoisie! When some of you were walking on bay-front as karwats, Francisco was in college and University educating myself okay!

        Pick on someone else: because we might be in the same school, that does not mean we are in the same class, we are in a totally different class; If Gregor tells you that an Intentional Airport will not cause more tourist to overnight on the island, and you agree with him, that tells me both of you must be under the influence of something which keep you both inebriated at all times. Just like someone said, ” the last thing Dominica needs right now is an International Airport, what we need are jobs.” How much more an ignorant comment can someone make. Couldn’t that person realizes that the mere building of the Airport will be a source of employment, and acreation of jobs, in addition to that when it is completed it will provide more sustainable employment.

        Boy I feel sorry for people like you, and those of you who keps Dominica stagnant as it was in the CE; (common era). You people have no ambition, or nothing known as shame! I do not mind people attacking me, but when you attack me contras me with something which makes sense, not with the garbage and venom you are spewing at me, you have done that before, but let me tell if you, I have no intentions to exchange insults with you, if I do I will tell you something which might make you hang yourself! In any event I am not supping as low as you are!

        Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

  71. Canada
    October 20, 2014

    Good day, I read the article and well explained , So lets look for a sponsor to build the Airport. We can investigate and get a sponsor, let asked for help to build the International airport , we already And have job for our young people,
    If we asked we will get help. if St Lucia , Grenada got help, why can we asked for help,
    that China wanted to build the Airport, We can asked for help, nothing wrong with that.

  72. Level
    October 20, 2014

    one other reason that nassief forgot to mention. If we to have an international airport, more and bigger hotels would have to be built which include a possibility of a 5 star, that means fort young hotel would lose stay overs in favor of 5 star.

    • Anonymous
      October 20, 2014

      You are pathetic. Even Fort Young would benefit from more visitors coming to our shores. It is this petty thinking that keeps us behind.

  73. Change is a must
    October 20, 2014

    I am still not convinced that we should not built an international airport… 16 year ago when UWP was making great stride with an international airport project, the same people were criticizing and pointing out that St. Kitts international airport was a white elephant. See where St. Kitts is now..It is about positioning your country…St. Kitts is now .leading the way in economic development in the OECS… .If Vere Bird did not have vision…Antigans would NOT HAVE AN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TODAY..
    DOMINICA IS THE LARGEST OF THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN ISLANDS AND ALMOST TWICE THE SIZE OF BARBADOS YET WE ARE THE MOST BACKWARD…
    If we do not take the plunge now, Dominica will never emerge for the economic woes it faces now. We have reached the LIMIT OF OUR DEVELOPMENT WITH MELVILLE HALL AIRPORT AND LIAT..
    It is not the tourism sector alone that will supports an international airport. It goes hand in hand with revitalized agricultural, manufacturing and service industry.,..How about targeting more offshore universities. Dominica has the cheap land that can support offshore school in all kinds of fields such as Natural Resource Management and agricultural..
    IT IS THIS LAZY LABOUR PARTY THAT HAS SHUT DOWN OUR DOWN OUR ECONOMY TO TOURISM IN WHICH WE DO NOT HAVE A STRONG COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE…
    UWP SHOULD PROCEED WITH THEIR PLANS AND NOT BE SIDETRACKED BY NAYSAYERS. THEY HAVE A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF DOMINICAN AND TOURISM IS JUST ONE COMPONENT.
    I say take the plunge or else 20 years from now our grandchildren will be calling us lazy, blind,short-sighted and lacking in vision.

    • Anonymous
      October 20, 2014

      Have you any idea how much of Dominica’s “large” land mass is actually usable? Please consider this pointbefore you decide what advantage “larger” Dominica has over Barbados and St Lucia. Anyway, I am also thinking 2 things.
      (1) What opinions are usually compared to, and
      (2) why such a small percentage of folks know the difference between an opinion and a fact.

      • Change is a must
        October 21, 2014

        two thirds of our land is mountainous so that leaves us with roughly 100 sq miles to develop. that is still bigger than the size of many of the islands with international airports like St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Kitts ect.
        About opinions…given a chance people like you would prevent ordinary Dominicans like me from voicing our opinions. But thanks to DNO we all have the same opportunity to do so..

  74. October 20, 2014

    I totally agree with Mr Nassief.
    The government Mr Skerritt,should seek your counsel before embarking on such a project as building an international airport, Airlines, i,e , International Airlines don’t just fly to a destination because there is an International Airport, there must be demand for that destination, then and only then would they consider flying there. We should concentrate on building the infrastructure, attracting a name brand hotel or two, let us create a demand, then and only then can we consider building an international airport. Building one now will be a huge waste of funds which could be used elsewhere to improve this unique tourist product Dominica.

    • October 20, 2014

      Are you on loss memory Lane! an international airport is part of the UWP manifesto!

  75. Lucia
    October 20, 2014

    You are right on target sir. Brand recognition and targeted marketing is the way to go,

    • MOT
      October 20, 2014

      No wonder the Dominica brand is soooo well known out there that visitors are flocking to DA so!!!

  76. Anonymous
    October 20, 2014

    I live in Boston, Massachusetts. Can anyone please tell me which flights to take that will get me to Dominica in one day?

    • Negre Bod LaMer
      October 20, 2014

      JetBlue (leaves at midnight) to PR (arrives at 4:00AM) then LIAT to DOM.
      US Air to PR then LIAT to DOM

      • Anonymous
        October 20, 2014

        What you did not mention is that Seaborned leaves at 12:20 pm. I have better things to do with my time than to sit in San Juan airport for over 7 hours.

      • October 20, 2014

        Sir you will not get a direct flight from Puerto Rico to Dominica on LIAT, they have to make stops in St Maarten or Antigua.

    • DFR
      October 20, 2014

      AA to DA via San juan; then connect with Seaborn or LIAT

      • Negre Bod LaMer
        October 20, 2014

        AA Flights for BOS to PR does not give sufficient time to make the LIAT or Seaborne connection to D/ca. Arrival is between 1:00 – 2:00 PM in PR. Any delay by AA and you are screwed!!

    • Sheldon
      October 20, 2014

      United 145 from Boston Logan to Washington Dulles
      United 1429 from Washington Dulles to St. Maarten
      WinAir 104 from St. Maarten to Dominica

      • Sheldon
        October 20, 2014

        Sorry united 1439 from Washington to SM

    • concern citizen
      October 20, 2014

      US Air connecting with Winair in St. Marteen.

    • Anonymous
      October 20, 2014

      There are numerous flights that will take you from the continental USA to St.Maarteen Princess Julianna International Airport (PJIA).

      Then from PJIA, connect with Winair to Dominica… All in one day

      Hope this helps

      • Anonymous
        October 20, 2014

        I did say IN ONE DAY!

    • carrotop
      October 20, 2014

      yes fly jet blue to Puerto Rica, and on to D/M in one day

    • Another thing
      October 20, 2014

      This questions and the answer below is something else we need to do. Someone should be able to go to Dominica.com and ask the above question and we should have an island concierge. That would run through all these options and send our guess the best flight options. Kind of like a national travel agent.

  77. Jungle
    October 20, 2014

    AMEN!

  78. JA4DA
    October 20, 2014

    Great article. As much as I would like an international airport it would not be fair to impose such an expense on the Dominican people.When it becomes economically and financially possible then yes…………….until then our favourite airline Liat will do what it does best. Let us down !!

  79. Gwen
    October 20, 2014

    Simple common sense! It was about time.

  80. sweet roses
    October 20, 2014

    Makes a whole lot of sense. Let’s maintain the horse before the cart.

    Thank You!

  81. Pedro
    October 20, 2014

    Gregor, solid commentary but you did not explore the build own operate or build own operate and transfer (BOO or BOOT) funding possibility, which minimizes the risk and burden of funding and potentially operating the airport for some time, turning the capital and O&M costs into private hands (assuming such a proposal sufficiently attractive). It is possible during that period the requisite tourism and developmental dynamics may change to actually justify that. All this must receive careful consideration of a economic development master plan, of which there has been various input. The question is whether those plans were sufficiently thought through (and engaged enough of our brilliant minds) and secondly which government is committed to that sort of master plan possibly far beyond the reign of the ruling party, given how we prefer to run small island politics?
    On a side note Skerrit seems to be allowing the Chinese favorites into such a deal,unfettered, though the results of which is under wraps. My prediction is that their will be some plans to be unveiled to the public as the last hook in the election campaign.

  82. Lee
    October 20, 2014

    From what i gather we need to change the name of this island from Dominica to something else. It’s time. Great article.

  83. Zandoli
    October 20, 2014

    I have visited Dominica in 2013 – 2,5 weeks and 2014 – 3 weeks. We will come back in 2015 for another 3 weeks. From the point of view of a stay over tourist I confirm 100% that international airport is not the clue for an increase in tourism. It has not played any role role in making our decision to visit Dominica.

  84. aviator
    October 20, 2014

    I totally agree with this statement.
    These are facts, not politics.
    And the new Dominica booth at Princess Juliana International airport in St Maarten will make it even easier for passengers in transit to Dominica. A warm “Dominican” welcome , facilitating the transfer to the departure terminal.
    All these are cheap things that make the connection an easy and pleasant one.
    Dominica is now part of the “islands of Princess Juliana” concept, and thanks to Winair and Liat service SXM to Dominica , will increase the importance of St Maarten as one of Dominica’s preferred hubs.
    Reminder : St Maarten offers same day connections to and from New York, (JFK and Newark) with Jetblue or Continental,
    Miami,with American airlines
    Atlanta with delta
    Boston with Jetblue
    Charlotte with US air
    Chicago with United
    Fort lauderdale with Spirit
    Philadelphia with USAir
    Washington with United
    Paris and anywhere in Europe with Air France and KLM
    France with Air Caraibes
    Toronto with Westjet
    Panama with Copa
    St Barth, BVI, St Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla with Winair
    ………

    All these with same day connections.

    Dominica CAN be reached the same day from a large number of cities in the world. And this is good news.

    • October 20, 2014

      And come 2015 American Airlines will be having six day a week flights to Martinique

  85. real possie
    October 20, 2014

    I hope the ones involve in the tourism industry read this a 100 time, this is a great way of looking at the situation, this is the person we need making decisions or at least listening to, I back this 100 I have been saying so for so long now.

  86. Robin Foley
    October 20, 2014

    The reality. At last. Clearly laid out.
    Great article

  87. VB
    October 20, 2014

    I’ve been saying that for eons. But folks think an international airport is the be all end all.

  88. !00% Dominican
    October 20, 2014

    Finally a truly balanced view on the International Airport for Dominica! Thanks Nassief!

  89. Natural Living
    October 20, 2014

    agree with you 100% my brother….

  90. Anonymous
    October 20, 2014

    thumbs up!!! i totally agree….

  91. Anonymous
    October 20, 2014

    I AGREE WITH YOU 100%. SUCH A REMARKABLE MAN.

  92. Africo
    October 20, 2014

    Thank you Mr. Nassief. An excellent well grounded argument. After what St. Vincent is going through to get its airport up and running, $1 Billion dollars is a fair estimate for building an “international airport”.

    This would really cripple the economy, unless as you say, a grant in that amount falls in our lap. But even then, then there will be those hellish bills of maintenance….but people just have this dream…..

  93. Just blaze
    October 20, 2014

    Excellent article. Hard to argue with someone when they have the stats to backup their argument. So I hope Skerrit and the rest take his advice.

  94. Negre Bod LaMer
    October 20, 2014

    I totally agree!
    Great Analysis!!

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