79.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeNewsArchivesLocal Airline Offers Faster Intra-Island Alternative to U.S. Postal Service

Local Airline Offers Faster Intra-Island Alternative to U.S. Postal Service

June 10, 2008 — In a homegrown David and Goliath story, a local business is giving the U.S. Postal Service a run for its money.
In mid-July Seaborne Airlines will reintroduce its FastPak Letter and Freight Service, the fastest way that letters or packages can travel between St. Thomas and St. Croix.
At $10, sending a Seaborne FastPak letter costs about twice as much as sending a priority letter through the Postal Service, but it is the only same-day service available between the two islands, and the letter can weigh up to 10 pounds. Customers pick up and drop off their letters at the seaplane terminals.
Seaborne has even lowered its price for sending a letter by $7. This reduction was made in the face of fuel prices that have increased by 80 percent since the beginning of the year.
Seaborne invested about $50,000 when it saw a need to get intra-island packages delivered faster than the Postal Service could deliver them.
"We pushed things forward because the need has been out there," ErSelcuk said. "Now is the time to address it."
Putting more emphasis into the air freight part of the business required changing the facilities to make it easier for customers to bring packages to the terminals.
"We have put together expanded space in St. Thomas and St. Croix," said Omer ErSelcuk, president and chief executive officer of Seaborne Airlines. "We're creating dedicated parking for pickup and dropoff and expanding our handling area for customers at the counter, and now have dedicated agents and a manager."
Postal Service mail takes at least one more day for the V.I. letters than most parts of the country because of a detour through a processing facility in San Juan, Puerto Rico. But there have been even longer delays, prompting Delegate Donna M. Christensen to ask the inspector general of the Postal Service to investigate. (See "Christensen Calls for Investigation of Mail Delays.") In addition to getting delivered twice as fast as Postal Service mail, the Seaborne letter travels less than half the distance.
While the cost is $4.80 for a Priority Mail letter, a letter mailed using the Postal Service from St. Thomas to St. Croix also makes a significantly longer journey than the Seaborne letter. Letters sent between St. Croix and St. Thomas take an early-morning flight from the territory to the processing facility in San Juan and get flown to the destination island later that day for delivery the day after, according to Monica Hand, spokesperson for the Postal Service.
While the airline has seen a more than 500-percent increase in fuel costs since 2002, ErSelcuk says he's trying to keep costs down for the community. The airline has raised passenger fares by $2 for adults, but it has reduced kids' fares by $10 on the round trip, according to ErSelcuk.
"We are operating very efficiently," he said. "I don't want to raise fares."
For more information about Seaborne's letter service, click here.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Advertising (skip)
Advertising (skip)

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.





Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Print Friendly, PDF & Email