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CARICOM heads to discuss possibility of forming one regional airline

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The possibility of the formation of one regional airline will be one of the issues to be discussed when CARICOM Heads of Government meet here from May 27 for a two-day meeting on air transportation.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said on Monday that there are a number of issues to be discussed.

“I hope everything goes well for this to come off,” he said.

“As you know I am always amused that there are people supposed to be concerned about public policy who don’t look beyond the headlines,” Gonsalves added.

According to the Prime Minister, about five or six years ago, then Trinidadian Prime Minister Patrick Manning dissolved BWIA and formed Caribbean Airlines (CAL) and paid off all the airline’s debts.

But the new airline racked up losses of US$44 million and $84 million in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

“Now, you can be rich and have plenty oil, but that is a lot of money in any language and there is re-thinking of certain things and the call has been made by many persons for one Caribbean airline,” he explained.

“We have no problem with that, but we will have to see the fine print, because I am very mindful before BWIA was dissolved, BWIA took decisions where they simply cut out a lot of flights without notice to Barbados, which affected us in the Eastern Caribbean and I see on more than one occasion when they have acted not consistent with our transportation needs,” the Prime Minister reasoned.

Gonsalves said that he had no intention of leaving “the bone of LIAT for the shadow of something else”, although he said that he would like to see a revamping of air transportation in the region. (DD)

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