-- Posts Summary: Airlines and Airports operating and not operating --

Another attempt at air transport co-operation...

Seeking consensus among the pros who are involved - perhaps as a guideline to the politicians and bureaucrats
User avatar
Forum Administrator
Forum Administrator
Posts: 33502
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006

Another attempt at air transport co-operation...

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Feb 27, 2014


Another attempt at air transport co-operation...
Vernon Khelawan
Thursday, February 27 2014

YET another attempt is being made to ease the trauma of travelling through the Caribbean, caused by continuing unreliable service and exorbitant fare structures and inclusive of punitive government taxes. The latest round of talks towards this end took place at the Caricom Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana last week Thursday.

It was a meeting with delegations from government-owned airlines operating in the Caribbean in an effort to see what means of collaboration could be used to provide more efficient, effective and safe air transportation in the region.

This is by no means a new concept. Following a Caricom Summit in the mid-nineties, Prime Minister Patrick Manning, on his return to Trinidad publicly supported the idea, whereby the then BWIA, LIAT, Air Jamaica, among others would pool resources to enable the carriers to purchase needed items, including fuel, at cost-saving prices. The issue remained alive for a few gasping months, before crashing somewhere in the Caribbean Sea – a kind of Federation replayed.

This time around however, it seems like a different approach is being made since the delegations comprising the committee involve airline executives, who are closely connected with the day to day operations of the various carriers and not the politicians, and this could make a vast difference in the final outcome.

But at the same time that the Commission was discussing ways and means, Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Dookeran was also urging that greater attention be paid to transportation in the region. In an address to the Ministerial Council of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre in Port-of-Spain last Friday, Dookeran told the Council members, “We must emphasise the development of transport and logistics critical to achieving transformative, endogenous growth and competitiveness in the economy of the Caribbean Sea.

“Improved and low-cost regional transport is absolutely critical to facilitate greater movement of goods and people within the Region,” Dookeran added.

Following a special meeting of Caricom’s Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in May 2013, the Transportation Commission of Caricom was established in September of last year in light of the “ongoing concerns of the travelling public and the critical role transportation plays in the Community”.

Caricom’s Ministers of Transportation proffered a proposal, which listed among other things that it would be in the best interest of the region for the government-owned carriers in Caricom – Caribbean Airlines, LIAT, Surinam Airways and BahamasAir – to discuss ways in which they can collaborate to come up with strategies to provide a more efficient, reliable and affordable service to the Region.

When the group first met last month, it identified the procurement of equipment, training across the board, flight scheduling and aircraft maintenance as some of the areas where co-operation was possible. At that meeting, it was also brought out that while Caribbean Airlines (CAL) and LIAT were collaborating at the technical level, there needed to be action at the corporate level, which could prove useful in cementing and increasing collaboration while improving efficiencies. The main points of the January 31 meeting were shared at last week’s session.

Chairman of the Transportation Commission, Godfrey Pompey, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Air and Seaport Development in the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, is also chairman of the Transportation Commission chaired the meeting.

Reports are that he put “more flesh to the earlier discussions and sought to pursue further deliberations on matters, including training, ground handling and arrangements for smoother airport transiting by the travelling public. (It takes almost nine hours to travel from St Croix in the US Virgin Islands to Port of Spain on the new LIAT schedule and that is available only twice weekly).

The delegation from Caribbean Airlines was headed by interim chairman Phillp Marshall, acting Chief Executive Officer Captain Jagmohan Singh and Consultant Ian Bertrand. LIAT was represented by another acting CEO Julie Reifer-Jones and advisor Lesroy Browne. Representing Suriname Airways was Rudi Westerbord, while the representative for BahamasAir was Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Claudius Rolle.

Commenting on the meeting, Caricom Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin La Roque commended the delegations and expressed his appreciation to the delegates for “so willingly making themselves available for interaction.” He assured them of the Secretariat’s commitment to facilitate such engagements.

La Roque also told them the field in which they were operating “was a critical component in the success of Caricom’s Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the development of the Community as a whole.”

Post Reply

Return to “Regional Or Local Concepts”