There have been a sizeable number of private jets at the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport in Anguilla, over the Christmas and New Year period, giving rise to the expectation when direct commercial jet travel to the island will eventually be commonplace. The increased number of private jets, in fact, started flying into Anguilla at the approach and during the American Thanksgiving holiday, providing much business for the island’s exquisite hotel resorts.
By Tuesday, December 30, the jets were still flying in and being parked up “like sardines”, to use a local expression, at the main ramp just to the north of the middle section of the runway. There, Mr. Dwight Carty, the very pleasant and experienced Supervisor of Lloyd’s Aviation Services, assisted by some of his fellow ground crew, busily repositioned a number of the aircraft to facilitate their flight from the island on Wednesday, New Year’s Day. Moving the jets, even with a special vehicle is a very skilled, if not tedious, job with their brakes on, and the lengthy wingspan to maneuver with while avoiding bumping the glistening executive planes into each other.
The confident Mr. Carty spoke to The Anguillian newspaper whose Editor was allowed onto the parking ramp. “We have a lot of aircraft parked, and we are trying to put them in position for their departure on January 1, New Year’s Day. That’s why we are now pulling them out,” he explained.
Asked how challenging it was to move the aircraft, Carty replied: “It is only a challenge when a pilot leaves the brakes and we have to contact him to come and release them.” As the Supervisor in charge of the operations at the ramp and, indeed Lloyd Aviation Services on a whole, he took control of the actual moving of the jets with his colleagues guiding him as may be necessary.
Mr. Carty was asked about the origin and types of jets. “They came from Europe, Canada, the United States and South America,” he replied. “We have Global Express 6,000s; Gulf Stream 650s and Falcon 8Xs. And then there are the medium-sized aircraft which are the Challenger 300s; Challenger 600s; Citation 680s; and Embraers. These are all private jets.” He averaged the number of jets flown into Anguilla between the days leading up to Christmas Day and December 30, to have been 160 – a favourable comparison with the same period last year.
For Carty and his fourteen other aircraft attendants, it is an exciting job working with Lloyd’s Aviation Services. “I love what I am doing,” he said. “It is a fun job and I like parking the jets. We have a great team. Without then we would not be having all these jets. Having their assistance with passengers, their luggage, passage through Immigration and Customs and the parking of the jets, we really have a great team.”