Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has disclosed that Grenada will soon be reducing taxes on airline tickets as part of measures aimed at encouraging intra-regional travel within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
He said that this is being done as the Government implements various strategies to encourage travel within the region.
Speaking on the pending liquidation of regional carrier LIAT, Mitchell said that there are other airlines which will be filling the void left by LIAT which suspended its service in April after most regional states shut down airports as part of measures aimed at containing COVID-19..
LIAT which has served the region for more than 40 years has been experiencing financial challenges before the onset of COVID-19 and the closure of the airports around the regions placed in the airline states in a more difficult position.
Most airports in the region re-opened as of July 1 for commercial passengers since closure in late March but since then there has been little or no regional commercial air traffic as only a few airlines are offering services.
The Eastern Caribbean is significantly affected by the non-availability of LIAT.
“There are a combination of opportunities that will be available to ensure that we have, not just to replace what LIAT was bringing if it has not returned, but to have expanded opportunities,” the Prime Minister said.
“We expect with the additional transport to the individual countries in the region and the reduction of taxes in general and airport fees, in general, we will see further development of inter-island travel.”
Naming One Caribbean, SVG Airways and InterCaribbean as airlines which are about the include Grenada and other Eastern Caribbean territories to their routes, he said the reducing airline taxes has become a necessity.
“So far, some countries and we will be following suit have in fact taken the initiative to reduce the taxes on airline tickets already. We will be doing so in the not to distance future,” he said without providing the timeline for government to make such announcement.
Tourism Minister Clarice Modeste has already confirmed that InterCaribbean airline, which is known for its services in the northern Caribbean is one of the airlines with which the Government has finalised an agreement.
The airline’s management has announced that it will be expanding its services to the Eastern Caribbean.
The regional Civil Aviation Authority which is based in Antigua and Barbuda has also provided the necessary approval for these regional airlines to expand to other islands.
These regional carriers are expected to make Barbados their hub for the Eastern Caribbean service.