Friday, September 23, 2011

WINAIR's founding fathers honored in St. Barths

George Greaux Sr., one of Winair’s founding fathers, holds up a plaque he was presented by Winair pilot Michael Jeffrey to commemorate the airline’s 50th anniversary.

GUSTAVIA, St Barths – Two of Winair’s founding fathers – Hippolite Lidde and George Greaux Sr. – were honored at a ceremony at the Gustave111 Airport on St. Barthelemy Wednesday for their vision in founding the airline, which is currently marking its 50th anniversary. The two men started the airline in 1961 with financial backing from the late Chester Wathey.

“I commend the founders and their investor for their vision in starting the airline in 1961,” the current’s Managing Director Edwin Hodge said.

Hodge also used Wednesday’s ceremony to cite St. Barth’s singular importance to Winair.

“Winair operates 66, 000 flights annually with an average of 15 flights per day into St. Barths in the slow season and 30 flights daily in the peak of the tourist season. Of the 150, 000 passengers we transport per year, 60, 000 of them go to and from St. Barths,” Hodge said

Later he’d add, “WINAIR and Winarians are proud to have St. Barths as a strategic partner and a key stakeholder over the last 50 years, with us being able to transport so many guests to the destination. Even though the airline is not large we are a serious contender contributing to the economy of St. Barths and the surrounding islands.”

Hodge pledged that the airline will make every effort to improve service to all their destinations – St. Barthelemy included. He also pledged to work on bringing more “high end” tourists so St. Barth’s economy will continue growing.

President of the Collectivite of St. Barthelemy Bruno Magras openly queried “What would have happened to St. Barths without aviation” as he thanked Winair for being an integral part of St. Barth’s history, the island’s development and the fact that they still have a strong tourism product.

“Aviation is a difficult job, because you cannot please everyone. I congratulate you on your achievement and I look forward to continuing our partnership for another 50 years because the opening of St. Barths to the outside world was only possible with the cooperation of Winair,” Magras said.

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