#TurksandCaicos, April 5, 2021 – Air travel suffered, but not as much among private jetsetters as was the case in the commercial industry. In a pandemic year, where a new virus emerged and managed to ground travel and tourism, Provo Air Center in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos held a leading position and improved upon service delivery.
In the annual rating of Aviation International News, Provo Air Center, the country’s longest running Fixed-Based Operator or private airport maintained its No. 1 spot for the Caribbean region; earning what could be equated to well above four stars out of a possible five.
Provo Air Center earned 4.37 points in the survey, which published the results on April 1, 2021.
Debbie Aharon, CEO of Provo Air Center attributes the fourth consecutive win to her team. “We basically had to reinvent our business and redefine what luxury means in today’s environment; I am proud of my fabulous staff. They did it!”
Global business for FBO’s plummeted some 65 per cent in 2020, according to industry data provider JetNet, when compared to 2019.
“Putting 2020 in context, the last time FBOs suffered through similar declines was during the Great Recession [2008-2010] when it took about six years to recover back to where we were at the 2007 peak,” said Mark Chambers, managing partner for industry consultant Aviation Resource Group International (ARGI).
The industry suffered even greater losses when it came to fuel earnings; 67 per cent and though travel for corporate executives was down, pleasure seekers and first timers to the private air field peaked and since December growth has been commendable; steady.
“The current recovery from 2020 looks different in our industry since the benefits of private travel are being spotlighted and shifting more passengers from airline terminals to FBOs,” Chambers told AIN. “This has heightened the interest on the buy side.”
FBOs were rated in five categories: Line Service, Passenger Amenities, Pilot Amenities, Facilities, and CSRs.
“It is not enough to specialize in just one or two categories, as some locations that earned the highest overall score in a category did not place in the top 10 percent of FBOs in this year’s survey. To reach the top rungs, a location must excel in all five categories.”
Provo Air Center earned 4.37, improving by .16 points; in second place was Odyssey Aviation in Nassau, The Bahamas with 4.36; Jet Nassau, Nassau, The Bahamas 4.08 placed third and fourth was listed as TLC Aviation, St Maarten with 3.68 out of a possible five.
Cruising should slow down says PAHO
By Dana Malcolm
‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.
“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”
Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.
A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.
Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1
By Dana Malcolm
#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”
Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.
Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour. Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands. In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”
Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.
Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources
By Sherrica Thompson
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.
Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.
“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.
“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”
Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.
Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.
She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.
There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.
Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.
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