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St Lucia’s tourism minister criticises regional airline

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St Lucia’s tourism minister criticises regional airline

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Mar 13, 2010


St Lucia’s tourism minister criticises regional airline
By admin on 3/13/10

ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – St. Lucia’s Tourism Minister Allan Chastenet says the regional airline LIAT needs to say why it is charging high fares to travel across the Caribbean.

Chastanet is also critical of the Antigua-based Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) for its stringent measures which he said were stifling the growth of small airlines in the region.

“ECCA is an impediment. When one considers a region that is so dependent on airlift and there are no small airlines operating, especially in light of the prices LIAT is charging, then I think it is un-economical and the uneconomical part is that it is over regulated.”

Chastenet told reporters that the St. Lucia’s hotel industry had taken a blow in recent years due to exorbitant ticket prices and urged LIAT, the main carrier serving the English-speaking Caribbean countries, to review its pricing policy.

“There has been this constant indication that it has been the taxes that have been causing this problem. When you examine the ticket, you will see that almost one third of what they are saying that are taxes is really a fuel surcharge and that fuel surcharge is going to LIAT,” he said noting that LIAT has been written to regarding the situation.

He said the airline “should find a way to cease and desist from doing that” and warned that with the dependence on regional traffic, Caribbean governments needed to act to arrest the problem.

“In the case of St. Lucia, we had a peak of almost 100 000 from the Caribbean region and we are down now to just over 55, 000. So that is a tremendous loss and obviously it has impacted our smaller hotels and that is something we would like to see a reversal of,” Chastanet added.

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