CARICOM Meeting Today Will Consider The Obvious – Even If They Use Other Words
As any good paperback novel detective would say, “There are no coincidences” – so when the BBC News comes out with a big article on the necessity for a single airline to serve the Caribbean, and then we read in the Jamaica Observer that Prime Minister Arthur and his CARICOM peers are talking today about the “harmonisation of regional air transportation” – you know that something is afoot.
I guess that one Caribbean airline makes sense from both a financial and a “Unite CARICOM” perspective, but why do I automatically reach to check that my wallet is still in my pocket every time the words “airline” and “government” are mentioned in the same sentence?
Here’s the start of the first article from BBC (Thanks to BFP sweetheart “K” for the tip)…
Caribbean airlines hit turbulence
As cricket-lovers prepare to converge on the Caribbean for the start of the sport’s World Cup in March, airlines in the region are undergoing their biggest shake-up in years.
After 66 years in service, the old state-owned national airline of Trinidad and Tobago – BWIA West Indies Airways – shut down at the end of 2006, having run up a deficit of $50m for the year.
It has been replaced by Caribbean Airlines – a slimmed-down company employing about a third of the old staff…
… (big snip)…
… “The absence of an agreed policy has made a complete mess of regional air transportation,” says Sir Ronald Sanders, a Guyanese-born former diplomat turned business consultant who writes a regular column published on the BBC’s Caribbean service website.
“Neither tourism to the region nor Caribbean travellers within the region can feel secure… In the name of national pride or national control, the gains that could result from regional co-operation go by the wayside.”
So with all this in mind, how are the Caribbean’s revamped airlines measuring up to the challenge of the Cricket World Cup?
Well, some countries are already voicing concern that ticket sales for the initial matches have been poor.
Only one-third of tickets available for Group C matches in St Lucia have been sold, for example, although the semi-final to be played there on 25 April has sold out.
However, many travellers trying to book flights to the Caribbean during the tournament are finding that few seats are on offer – so cricket fans making a last-minute decision to follow their team risk being unable to get there in the first place.
The Cricket World Cup may prove to be an impressive sporting showcase. But as an advertisement for Caribbean infrastructure, it could end up being an embarrassment.
… read the entire BBC article (link here)
CARICOM Leaders Meeting In Jamaica – Airlines On The Agenda
Here is the article from the Jamaica Observer…
Regional Air Transportation High On CARICOM’s Agenda Today
A FRESH effort is to be made at this week’s Inter-Sessional Meeting of Caribbean Community Heads of Government to move in the direction of harmonisation of regional air transportation.
It is a priority agenda issue for the three-day meeting of Caricom leaders that gets under way this morning in Kingstown, with at least three Heads of Government expected to be absent -Haiti’s Rene Preval; Belize’s Said Musa and The Bahamas’ Perry Christie.
The meeting, hosted by Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, current Caricom chairman, will also be focused on advancing arrangements for the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME); creation of a Caribbean Development Fund and establishment of a new governance mechanism in the form of a Caricom Commission with executive authority.
A major feature of the new initiative on harmonisation of regional air transportation – that could also extend to Air Jamaica – is the consideration of a viable commercial alliance between Trinidad and Tobago’s new Caribbean Airline and the recently merged entity Liat, Star of the Caribbean…
… continue reading this article at The Jamaica Observer (link here)