CHARLESTOWN: Air Journey, an American-based leader in escorted flying journeys, made its inaugural visit to Nevis with the arrival of 12 TBM planes and 34 passengers at Vance W. Amory International Airport on January 30.
While watching the aircraft land, the airport’s manager, Stephen Hanley, said the visit offered exciting prospects for Nevis’s tourism product.
“There would also be the spinoff effects of the visitors, their accommodation at the Four Seasons Resort, the taxi transfers impacting the community in terms of food and any of the other site seeing tours that they will be doing during their stay,” he said. “Of course we all know the best advertisement is a visitor going back and say what a wonderful stay they had in Nevis and encouraging others to visit our shores. So we are happy to have the group here on this occasion.”
Air Journey Co-ordinator Anais Pouille said it was the first time the company had escorted aircraft to Nevis.
“We put together guided flying trips for people that fly their own airplanes and every year we do different destinations and this year we chose Nevis,” she said. “A lot of the pilots that came here, it’s actually their first time coming to Nevis. They have never been here before, and they’re just ecstatic. Everything is so beautiful, the greenery, the lushness and everything. They’re just so happy to kind of explore the island and see what there is and go back and share what Nevis has to offer to their friends and family back home.”
Pouille said Nevis was chosen as a destination for several reasons.
“Look around,” she said. “Could you pick any better paradise than this? For us, our main purpose for choosing a destination is aviation friendly places, friendly people and also a lot of activities and Nevis fit all of those marks.”
The Air Journey staff members departed from Florida and communicated with each other throughout the flight.
“Our departure point was Florida,” said Pouille. “We all met in Florida and then launched from there. We talk up in the air and keep everyone aware of what’s going on and the next thing you know we’re in paradise. Nevis is so beautiful. People are so friendly, so welcoming. You couldn’t ask for a better place,” she said.
Pouille said all the aircraft which came to Nevis were the same French-based airplane.
“This is a certain type of airplane,” she said. “Everyone that flew in has the same type of airplane, a French-based aircraft named a TBM and they are all self-flown so all of the pilots fly themselves and their families to different destinations around the world. It’s a great aircraft.”
Pouille said Air Journey has been operating for more than a decade.
“Air Journey has been around for 15 years,” she said. “We started with the Bahamas in the hopes of showing American pilots where their planes can take them. It’s kind of not knowing what’s out there that keeps people from going and we do trips to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Central America, South America, Europe and Africa.”