A compassionate charter flight to Chile: Not for the lack of trying


An Editorial by J Brock (FINN)


The Falkland Islands Government (FIG) has held conversations with the UK government about the possibility of putting on a charter flight for South American members of our community to visit family and friends during the festive season.


It was hoped that the flight would also give people the opportunity to renew expired documents which we know has been a huge concern.


However, such a flight requires the permission of the Government of Argentina (GoA) to fly over their air space,


This is a recognised devolved matter and FIG has asked the UK government to negotiate this bilateral request on our behalf, as GoA will not engage directly with FIG on this matter.


“FIG is hopeful this request will be granted given that, due to Covid-19, there are many people in the Falkland Islands who have not been able to see their family since before the pandemic began,” said an FIG spokesperson.


December, traditionally a time of goodwill, should have meant that necessary permissions for this flight would be given, as it would mean a great deal to many people, both in the Falkland Islands and in South America.


However, the usual scenario means that the timeframe has slipped in favour of a flight originating in Argentina using their national airline.


My own thoughts are that GoA money would be better spent on their own people, who are dealing with runaway inflation and a sharply devaluing currency.


FIG has the money and infrastructure to fly people to Chile directly, without fuss or media circus.  Thwarting a timely humanitarian flight from taking place is the GoA policy not to deal directly with FIG regarding the use of their airspace.  It shouldn’t take several months to make a humanitarian decision or to allow a flight to go ahead at our expense.


Humanitarianism begins at home.  I would hope that, for the people’s sake, GoA spends their money on them rather than on us.