Boy, oh boy! Dickson Igwe still wants to fly big jets into Beef Island. And in the most recent edition of the Beacon, William Walker analysed what would be necessary to bring in 200-to-300-passenger aircraft. This is up around the size of a Boeing 767 or an Airbus A300.
The runway could be extended — this is just a matter of doing it and saying to heck with Trellis Bay — but you still would have the problem of big jets having to make what is for them a tricky approach to land on the active runway. Looking at my Virgin Islands map, a big jet coming in to land will have to do some steep turns and drop altitude, all over the last couple of miles. This is a long way from the long flat approaches that they normally do.
Mr. Igwe writes about roads around the airfields. Okay! St. Thomas, St. Martin and Beef Island all have roads running parallel with the runways. This is not relevant to anything. I know St. Martin has the rummies with their “jet blast” drinks hanging on the fence at the end of the runway. But only Beef Island has an open two-way-traffic road right on the end of the runway where aircraft open up their engines for takeoff.
Messrs. Igwe and Walker both write at length about economic things. Can I use a rude four-letter word here? Cuba. Every year in the United Nations General Assembly, the American sanctions against Cuba are debated and voted on. America and Israel vote in favour; the rest of the world votes against. Sometime in the not-too-distant future America will have to apologise for the Bay of Pigs attack on Cuba and lift all sanctions.
When Cuba opens up it could send a chilly blast up and down the Caribbean, with islands trying to hang on to what they have. Some islands will do better than others. The VI could be well placed with its well-set-up yacht business. The US Virgin Islands could become a financial disaster area. All thoughts of spending tens of millions of dollars on airports and ferry docks should be put on hold.