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SVG Air
Category: Local Airline
Location: St Vincent
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Scheduled & Caribbean Private Air Charter
Welcome to Canouan, SVG Air

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Planes lining up at St Vincent Airport, Caribbean airline
SVG Air, Caribbean Airline

 

Looking over Union Island Airport to Palm Island
Palm Island in the distance

 

Looking down at Mustique Airport, airline Caribbean in
Coming in to land, Mustique

 

Departures and Arrivals at Canouan Airport, Caribbean air charter islands
Canouan Airport, SVG Air, Caribbean airline

 

Coming in to land at Bequia Airport, SVG Air
Charter a private flight with SVG Air

 

Heading for take off, SVG Air
Caribbean private air charter

 
SVG Air is a private charter airline based in the south-eastern Caribbean, flying in and out of St Vincent and the Grenadines. It has a number of different services. First, as you might expect from the name (SVG stands for St Vincent and the Grenadines), it offers charters to the Grenadines, linking the chain of small islands to the main hubs in the region. This is often Barbados, but it can equally be St Lucia or Grenada and the company is happy to charter as far afield as Puerto Rico and Venezuela. In addition they also offer what are known as ‘share charters’ (see below) from Barbados to Bequia, Canouan, Union Island and Carriacou in the Grenadines. These flights do not appear on scheduled international airline computer systems, but they fly regularly each day to meet long-haul connections. Thirdly, SVG Air makes the scheduled run between Grenada and Carriacou three or four times daily and on to Union Island. Fourth it offers Grenadines air ambulance services. Finally, they do offer sightseeing on request, but given that many of the flights hop along the Grenadine chain anyway, you may well have been treated to a fantastic view of the islands already.

The airline has around a dozen aircraft that vary in size from five to nineteen seats. These include two jets, a seven-seater Citation 550 and a Citation J3 (in service from late 2008). Other aircraft include the Cessna 402 (seven passengers), the Cessna 402B (six seats), the Aero Commander 500S (five seats), an eight-seater Islander and two nineteen-seater Vistaliners (with extra large windows for the view). The variety of their fleet means that they can be very flexible, and if they do not have what you need, they are also happy to bring larger aircraft in.

SVG Air is based in the ‘mainland’ of St Vincent, at the main airport at Arnos Vale. It is headed up by Paul Gravel, a Canadian who has lived in the Grenadines since the mid 1980s. The company has around 30 pilots in a total staff of 80. Staff members you might come across include Mike Arthur, a former Cathay Pacific pilot now the chief pilot on jet, and the redoubtable Bernadette in Reservations, who has 25 years of aviation experience. Working in the background is Greg Clark, formerly of BWIA, the chief maintenance officer.

Although the airline charters independently, when it come to regular passengers trying to get from Barbados to the Grenadines, SVG Air also forms part of the Grenadine Air Alliance, in which it shares a booking system and flights with two other small airlines that also fly similar routes, Mustique Airways (also out of St Vincent) and TIA 2000, which is based in Barbados. Together the three airlines offer a system of share charters from Barbados to the Grenadines. See Share Charter below.

Finally, it is not only people that SVG Air flies around the area. They have been known to get some unexpected requests for transportation. They have flown to Martinique to collect asparagus for a very smart dinner and Donald Trump’s dog was once transported for medical attention. Of course there have been a fair few celebrities too, including Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley, Tom Hanks, Bill Gates, Tony Blair and the President of Brazil.
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Private Charter
The advantage of a private charter is that you travel at your own schedule and you are not constrained by inter-island schedules - which in the Caribbean do quite often get delayed. However, if there is a delay on your incoming international leg, SVG will find out about it in advance and be there for your arrival. You will be collected as you get off the plane and you are not required to clear Immigration. Your bags will be collected for you and brought to the plane. And then your charter simply leaves when you are ready, which in turn means that you are able to reach your destination more quickly. If there are too many suitcases or a delay in the bags, then they follow on a later plane. If you are travelling in a group, say as a family or friends travelling together to join a yacht, then once you fill the plane, it becomes quite an attractive option from a price perspective too.

If you have decided on a two-centre holiday which includes one of the Grenadines, then SVG Air is happy to arrange your inter-island transfer mid-way through your holiday.
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Shared Charters
As so many people need to get from Barbados to the Grenadines, a system has developed whereby travel organisers can put their passengers onto a list (or passengers themselves can enter their name) to fly on a certain day. If the first plane fills up then the airlines simply put on another/larger one until all the passengers are accommodated. These flights have become known as ‘shared charters’. Practically speaking they leave Barbados and St Lucia (Hewanorra) for the Grenadines every day, but because they are run by charter airlines, rather than scheduled companies, they are not listed on the international computer systems.

The shared charters are overseen by the Grenadine Air Alliance, which is made up of three local airlines, SVG Air and Mustique Airways, which are both based in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and TIA 2000, which is based in Barbados.

Because of the flight timings (international flights tend to arrive in the larger Caribbean islands in the mid to late afternoon) and because many of the small Grenadine airstrips close at sunset, there is sometimes pressure to get passengers to their eventual destination in the Grenadines before sunset. When things become delayed, the luggage will be left behind, to follow later or the next day when there is another shuttle. For this reason you are advised to take a change of tropical clothes and your swimming costume and sunglasses with you in your hand luggage.
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Scheduled Flights
SVG Air has a three-times daily shuttle run between Grenada and its smaller sister-island Carriacou. After the last link of the day, the plane continues up to Union Island and then along the Grenadines to St Vincent.
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Sightseeing
In addition to transfers, SVG Air also offers airborne sightseeing on request. It is worth noting that pretty much any flight along the Grenadine chain offers sight-seeing because the views are spectacular.
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Emergency Medical Services
SVG Air is equipped to offer emergency medical evacuation. They can offer jet service, but most usually they work with their Cessna 402, which can be equipped with a medevec kit. In Barbados they hand over to Fox Flight, which works with Lear Jets, so if you need to travel beyond Barbados then they can make the transfer direct to the eastern seaboard of the United States.
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Fleet
SVG Air’s Fleet consists of around a dozen planes including two jets, a Citation 550 and a Citation J3 (in service from late 2008), Cessna 402s (seven passengers), Cessna 402Bs (six seats), Aero Commander 500Ss (five seats), an eight-seater Islander and two nineteen-seater Vistaliners.

They are all GPS equipped and where required have radar (not for simple island hopping). SVG Air operates under certification from the FAA (US Federal Aviation Administration). Safety briefings and briefing cards are as required by the FAA

The aircraft are limited in the amount of baggage that they can take (it varies according to the number of passengers). Reasonable extra baggage will be transported by later planes following the same route. You are advised to carry a change of clothes and other vital material with you in your hand luggage.
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Routes
SVG Air covers all the islands in the eastern Caribbean as far north as San Juan in Puerto Rico and south to Trinidad and Venzuela. Due to Caribbean regulations, either the start or the finish point of your journey must be in St Vincent and the Grenadines. SVG Air also has a limited licence to charter out of Barbados. However, if the only Barbados-based company is not available then SVG is permitted to step in.
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Photo Essay
The Grenadines, a string of outcrops, cays and sandbars scattered over the 60 miles between St Vincent and Grenada, are some of the prettiest islands in the Caribbean. In a new type of article on Definitive Caribbean, we present a photo essay of the Grenadines as seen by the pilot of a small plane. Pilots are lucky, it seems. They have a fantastic view from their cockpit. Oh, they have a few responsibilities too, but from 5000 feet they can see for fifty miles or more. This is living geography - every tidal pattern is visible around an island, every breaking wave, even fish moving underwater at times. At Kick ‘em Jenny, a submarine volcano nearer Grenada, pilots have seen the results of seismic activity beneath the sea. All the photographs in the following series are courtesy of Paul Gravel, owner of SVG Air. We hope you enjoy them.

Please see our
St Vincent and the Grenadines Photo Essay.
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How to Book
If you wish to make further enquiries or a reservation, please use the WEB LINK or DIRECT EMAIL ENQUIRIES facility at the top of this page to make contact with SVG Air, or if you wish to telephone them, please click on TELEPHONE ENQUIRIES to reveal the number.
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