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Posted: Saturday 8 July, 2023 at 11:03 AM

CDB completes study on intraregional travel

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - INTRAREGIONSL travel will be among a number of topics that regional leaders will further discuss with the aim of concretizing a solution, when they meet again later this month in Dominica.


    The topic was one of a number of issues deliberated on by the leaders at the just concluded Heads of Government Meeting in Port-of-Spain, where the bloc celebrated its 50th anniversary.


    During the Dominica Meeting, the leaders will receive the Caribbean Development Bank’s consultation report which, according to the Chairman of CARICOM, Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit, would provide numbers on the way forward.


    “We mandated the CDB to engage in a study and to examine air transportation within the Caribbean Community and to come up with some recommendations on how to go about addressing this issue with the absence of LIAT,” Skerrit said.


    Skerrit continued: “The CDB has completed this study and they will get it to us in the next couple of weeks. They have firm numbers in terms of the cost. They will be looking at the eight-year or seven-year programme cost and hoping that we will get the buy-in of a lot of us in respect to this entity which we believe will compliment what CAL is doing…Because no doubt that we have to address the issue of intraregional travel


    The CDB undertook the review following the embarrassing collapse of regional airline LIAT during the height of the pandemic, which decimated regional travel. However, a number of other carriers have since stepped in to fill the gap, and among them are Intercaribbean, Bahamas Air, and Caribbean Airlines which recently added St. Kitts and Nevis to its connection.


    “Yes, we received a report on air transportation. Caribbean Airlines has been doing a fantastic job thus far in seeking to help fill the void created by the actions of LIAT. And you have other airlines, you have Bahamas Air that is looking at doing some flights within the Caribbean onto North America as well. Intercaribbean has increased a number of additional flights to the Caribbean from Turks and Caicoc,” noted Skerrit.


    Since the collapse of LIAT, intraregional travel became a disaster with the easier and cheap option to instransit through the United States. That in itself created a challenge because a number of residents within the region are not holders of a US visa to stop over, and it also calls for additional spending to travel as one has to overnight at a hotel.


    In one instance last year, moving from Grenada or St. Vincent and the Grenadines meant that those persons had to travel to London overnight and return to Antigua and Barbuda. 


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