V.I. Dept. of Tourism greeters welcome Frontier Airlines inaugural flight to St. Thomas, USVI on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. By KYLE MURPHY FOR VI CONSORTIUM
ST. THOMAS — On Friday afternoon, Frontier Airlines flight 130 touch downed at the Cyril E. King Airport at around 4 p.m local time and became the first flight from the airline to land in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The flight was greeted by bamboula dancers and mocko jumbies as well as a team of greeters from the Department of Tourism, who distributed welcome bags to passengers and crew — creating a festive environment for the first set of arriving Frontier passengers to the territory.
During a press conference following the welcome, Carlton Dowe, Virgin Islands Port Authority executive director, stated, “You could feel as that plane landed today, the excitement of the territory."
Joseph Boschultle, Dept. of Tourism Commissioner, shared similar sentiments. “I want to thank all of our tourism team for stepping up and doing what we always do and welcoming our people to the territory," he said.
Mr. Dowe spoke briefly on the process of forming a relationship with Frontier. It was nearly a year ago, right before the pandemic effects were felt on travel in the territory that representatives of the Virgin Islands met with counterparts from Frontier Airlines to discuss the possibility of a partnership. “This is a partnership we are looking to,” Mr. Dowe said.
Barry L. Biffle, chief executive officer of Frontier Airlines, said during remarks that when people see the green Frontier Airlines logo, he wants them “to think of the money that is going to be coming into the local economy.” He also revealed Frontier to be an environment-conscious airline. “We get 99 miles per gallon per seat,” he said. “We are excited, we're growing, and we are going to be adding more service."
Avery Lewis, the administrator for St. Thomas and Water Island, spoke on behalf of Governor Albert Bryan and Lieutenant Governor Tregenza Roach. “These types of partnerships is what we need in the Virgin Islands,” he said.
The Cyril E. King Airport is one of two airports in the territory, a reminder that Mr. Dowe made sure to include in his remarks. “We expect you to do the same thing Barry, just in case you didn’t know, we expect you to do the same thing in St. Croix," he said.
The flight was captained and co-piloted by two people that are residents of the Virgin Islands: Fred and Carla Rosenberg, according to Mr. Boschulte.
Said Fred, “It’s always good to see another airline in St. Thomas.”
Frontier will serve St. Thomas (STT) with flights twice each week from Orlando International Airport (MCO), Florida’s busiest airport based on volume of passengers.
The airline has also announced twice-weekly service between Miami and St. Thomas, on Sundays and Thursdays, beginning March 7, a move that comes in response to strong demand for travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the V.I. Dept. of Tourism.