WINAIR celebrated their 50th Anniversary on Wednesday September 21st 2011, and as a result, activities were held on Nevis in observation of the milestone.
A contingent consisting of Managing Director, members of the supervisory board, pilots and journalists journeyed on-board a WINAIR flight to Queen City Nevis for the celebrations. A reception was held at Oualie Beach Resort where guests were treated to a scrumptious lithe lunch and local music.
Director TDC Nevis Ltd Mr. Ernie France opined that the auspicious ceremony marked a significant milestone in the life of Nevis’ most prominent regional airlines. WINAIR was founded in 1961 and today operates 3 De Havillard Twin Otter Aircrafts with daily flights to the islands of Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Barths and Nevis amongst others. According to France 50 years in business is no small feat, “and the Board of Directors, Managements and all who have contributed over the years must be commended. My limited experience in this dynamic industry tells me it is filled with challenges and requires astute management at all times,” he said.
He reminded all of the numerous airlines that have come and gone that WINAIR has demonstrated that amidst the challenges great things can be accomplished. France noted that worthy of commendation was WINAIR’s outstanding safety record. “WINAIR has flown through the region in good times and bad times, through good weather and bad and they have been consistent, sure and safe,” he obsereved.
Also joining WINAIR in celebrating its 50 years anniversary was CEO of Nevis Tourism Authority, Mr. John Hanley who echoed similar sentiments as France. He noted that WINAIR in the face of financial turmoil of the last several years has withstood the test of time. “WINAIR is very important to Nevis and has been for the past 33years. WINAIR has been providing a high level of convenience to our locals and tourists alike, with direct connection to St. Maarten for shopping or for onward connections with over a dozen major airlines servicing North America, Latin America as well as Europe. WINAIR’s service has, for the most part, been reliable and punctual,” he commented.
Hanley commented that the fact that WINAIR flies to some of the smallest and most difficult little airports in the world, it must be highly commended for its impeccable safety record. Hanley challenged the airline as it moves on to another 50 years to do better than it has done before. “I challenge WINAIR to continue to recognize the importance of punctuality and reliability while flying your deserving and discriminating passengers. I challenge you to be better corporate citizens by partnering with social and humanitarian causes in the destinations you serve,” he challenged.
Director of WINAIR Edwin Hodge gave some background information regarding the company. He informed that WINAIR was founded in 1961 by Mr. George Greaux and Fostin Ledee and the late Chester Wathey. “WINAIR safely transports an average of 150,000 passengers per year between four destinations with about 66,000 flights per year. Your WINAIR presently operates one flight daily in and out of Nevis. Sadly this used to be 3 flights consistently but due to economic recession WINAIR was forced to reduce service to what it is today,” he explained.
Of these 150,000 passengers some 30,000 plus he stated are on the Nevis route travelling for shopping, medical to transit or just leisure. “The remaining 60,000 plus passengers are on the St. Barths route.” He assured that WINAIR and its Winairians are happy to have Nevis as one of its key stakeholders during the last 30 years. “We certainly could not have done it without you.”
Some of the future goals of WINAIR he outlined are: to “keep our company safe and cost efficient, to ensure a high return rate to WINAIR and Nevis and Closer cooperation with Liat Airlines to improve airlift into Nevis whilst keeping travel at an affordable cost to the public of Nevis,” he stated.
Also congratulating the airline on its golden anniversary was Premier of Nevis and Minister of Tourism, Hon. Joseph Parry who noted that he was very proud of WINAIR for being a Caribbean airline, “I hope we can get the message to our people that being Caribbean is ok.”