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Grenada is considering waiver options to keep SVG Air flying

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Grenada is considering waiver options to keep SVG Air flying

Unread post by bimjim » Sun May 26, 2019

https://thenewtoday.gd/uncategorized/20 ... ir-flying/

[Grenada] Government is considering waiver options to keep SVG Air flying
May 25, 2019

Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen has said that government is considering some waiver options that will keep SVG Air operating in Grenada, despite claims that the airline may pull out because of high taxes and other financial constraints.

A video has been circulated on social media, which highlighted an SVG Air official saying that as a result of high taxes and the airline’s inability to make a profit in the last 20 years operating between Grenada and Carriacou, it is considering discontinuing the service.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference last Thursday at the Public Workers Union (PWU) Building, Dr. Modeste-Curwen acknowledged that there are some issues being experienced by the airline and government has been working behind the scenes to address them and a solution is in sight.

“We have a little situation, we have been working behind the scenes to resolve it, we continue and we expect that in short time with both sides showing goodwill, we can come to a conclusion very easily”, she said.

“We are working with the Management of SVG Air to ensure that we come to a satisfactory conclusion for SVG Air, because while I talk about the Jet Blues and other things, our own in-house business, our home problems have to be dealt with”, she added.

This is an apparent reference to monies paid by Government to Jet Blue and American Airlines to service the different routes between Grenada and North America.

Dr. Modeste-Curwen also dropped hints that one of the issues on the table with SVG Air is the need for the small airline to acquire a fleet of bigger planes to service the Grenada/Carriacou route.

“We have been given a directive by Prime Minister and Minister for Finance (Dr. Keith Mitchell) to look at ways of having bigger planes going to Carriacou, maybe more planes and we had a lot of discussions. It requires a number of waivers of money, foregoing certain fees, foregoing certain taxes, but you don’t wake one morning and make those decisions, it has to be discussed…”, she said.

According to the Tourism Minister, one of the determining factors is how the waiver in fees would impact on the finances of the state-controlled Grenada Airports Authority (GAA).

“…Airport has to crunch their numbers. If I forego that, if I do not charge this, what would be the impact on the airport, because the airport sustains itself, it pays the staff, it does certain things and they have to know? They have done it, at this point in time, they have looked at what they can do to ensure that SVG Air wins,” she said.

The Civil Aviation Minister stated that government itself has agreed to certain waivers in an effort to keep the airline operating in Grenada.

In addition, she said the government-appointed Airlift Committee has also been engaging SVG Air “and we expect some good and very positive outcomes”.

“We see Carriacou being an integral part of Grenada’s development, of tourism development in the industry, and we are working together as a team, assiduously to ensure that the good things happen. So, don’t fear, make your bookings with SVG Air, I’m sure that we will resolve it in good faith before any catastrophe happens,” she remarked.

Minister Modeste-Curwen also used the press briefing to inform reporters that Jet Blue would be increasing its flights to the island from JFK International Airport in New York.

She said that from August 1 to September 3 the airline will operate two flights per day to Grenada to facilitate the demand of the annual Carnival season with the first flight arriving at MBIA 11:57 a.m. and departing at 12:57 a.m., and the second flight arriving at 3:56 p.m. and departing at 4:57 p.m.

In addition, she announced that American Airlines has agreed to provide a new non-stop weekly flight on Saturdays with a 128 seat airbus from Charlotte, North Carolina in the US to Grenada effective December 21, 2019.

According to Minister Modeste-Curwen, this is a major boost to the island as Charlotte is a key hub in the United States in terms of passenger traffic and movement.

She said: “Charlotte ranks in the first 10 busiest airports, not in America alone, but in the world and also it is the second largest hub of American Airlines. (It has) a wide range of other destinations within the US that connect with American Airline through Charlotte and get into Grenada, so, that is a big big plus for us.

“… It will open up new avenues and possibilities for people to come into Pure Grenada, the Isle of Spice. This new gateway will certainly facilitate ease of movement of passengers to and from Grenada to a number of other destinations,” she added.

7In recent years, tourism has become the main player in the Grenadian economy in terms of foreign exchange earnings and job creation.

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