Jan 03, 2020 News
– Caribbean Airlines says it has met all the regulatory requirements
Trinidad and Tobago-controlled Caribbean Airlines (CAL) is calling on Guyana and the US to clear the hurdles which will allow non-stop flights to North America.
The airline yesterday insisted it has met all regulatory requirements.
The call was made in a statement which came days after a study recommended that Guyana explore the possibilities of a state-sponsored airline which will help reduce high fares.
“Caribbean Airlines has met all of the requirements to facilitate non-stop travel between Guyana and the United States of America. However, the final regulatory approval to permit such lies within the jurisdiction of the Government of Guyana and the United States authorities to grant permission of same. The airline is looking forward with much anticipation for this authorization to be granted.”
For years, CAL and its predecessor, BWIA, have been capitalizing on the lucrative Guyana/New York route.
The route has been a major revenue earner for the airline but with the absence of competition, the criticisms of high fares have been many.
Yesterday, CAL indicated that the fact that passengers have to in-transit in Trinidad is a major inconvenience.
The reality is that that in-transit was mandatory as under regulations CAL cannot fly from Guyana to the US directly. The US authorities have to green light those flights.
Guyana has to also file the necessary requests for that to happen.
In recent months, American Airlines, one of the biggest in the US, added New York to its flights from Guyana. This is in addition to the Miami route.
Within months, Eastern Airlines, which morphed from Dynamic, will start flying the New York also.
With the New York route a major revenue earner for CAL, the battle will be on for the airline.
According to CAL, in its statement, it has with its predecessor, BWIA, faithfully served Guyana since 1947.
“While other providers have come and gone, Caribbean Airlines has maintained its commitment to Guyana regardless of whether times are good or bad. Like all airlines in the current commercial climate, Caribbean Airlines faces intense competition and constant upward pressure on overall costs while also trying to invest for the future.”
The airline said that it has, and continues to carefully manage ticket prices for the Guyana market. “The airline’s pricing policies are done in line with its operational costs and not with a view to exploit any given market.”
CAL, in fact, argued yesterday that ticket prices of foreign carriers operating into and out of Guyana are in fact regularly higher, particularly with respect to fares that include a checked bag.
“Caribbean Airlines recently launched their Caribbean branded fares which offer more choice and greater flexibility to all customers. The fare options on the airline are now LITE, CLASSIC, FLEX, BIZ and BIZ FLEX all with different features, to cater to the specific needs of travellers.”
The airline said that Guyana is the only market outside of Trinidad and Tobago which offers “Caribbean Layaway” which allows customers to use a payment plan to purchase tickets.
“The assertion that Caribbean Airlines is “using the Guyana market as a “cash cow”, using the revenues to subsidize Trinidadians’ travel between Trinidad and Tobago by offsetting (sic) losses being incurred by the company through the Port of Spain to Tobago air bridges (sic), which they say is haemorrhaging (sic) the airline” is wrong.”
CAL denied that the accounts and financing of the domestic air bridge between Trinidad and Tobago is co-mingled with the airline’s international operations.
“And the revenues from international routes including Guyana are not used to offset losses on the domestic air bridge. Caribbean Airlines has a clear arrangement with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT) as it relates to the financing and management of the domestic air bridge which has nothing to do with revenues from any international routes.”
CAL also disclosed that it has managed to achieve an operating profit for the first time in many years.
“The airline is excited to be reinvesting in a new fleet, new routes, and improved services. This includes Guyana where we launched the new service to Havana, Cuba; added additional flights on existing routes including New York; and have further expansions planned over the next few months and years including the opening of additional ticket offices.
“These are substantial investments in the Guyanese market where Caribbean Airlines already has a number of competitors and where there is always the threat of new entrants.”
The airline expressed concerns about the continued inconvenience associated with the need to transit through Trinidad and Tobago on the way to the US.
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