Night landing at the Melville Hall Airport, which was touted as one of the ways that would help increase visitor arrivals to Dominica, is struggling along at the moment, officials have admitted.
Tourism Minister Ian Douglas says there are night landing flights at the moment, although he conceded that they were “intermittent” rather than “frequent”.
“Liat has been coming in in the night, and Air BVI has been coming in” the minister said in response to a question from DNO.
“Planes are landing here after sundown from Antigua, from St Maarten, BVI,” Douglas confirmed.
However he emphasized that the onus was on the airlines to make greater use of the facility.
“At the end of the day if the night landing is to improve in terms of more planes coming at night it is the airlines that have to use the facility,” Douglas explained.
He indicated that he would like to see regional airline Liat make greater use of the facility, as Dominica’s major carrier.
The tourism minister said Liat has explained that it has limited planes with night landing capability, and that some of its pilots have to undergo training to use the navigational instruments involved.
Air BVI is undertaking the bulk of the night landing flights at the moment, according to Colin Piper, the Chief Executive Officer of the Discover Dominica Authority.
“BVI has three flights weekly departing St Maarten at 6pm which arrive in Dominica after sunset,” he disclosed.
“They have met that schedule since they started on June 4th (2011),” Piper said, apart from two flights, one which was due to weather condition, and the other mechanical issues.
Dominica’s night landing facility at the Melville Hall Airport was officially launched in September 2010 with an inaugural flight from Antigua.