Tourism Minister Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace is getting support for the idea of one regional airspace in a major way, with Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) President Josef Forstmayr arguing it needs to be a priority for all CARICOM countries.
It just would make flying to and around the region more affordable for all, he said.
“Once you have approval to land in one CARICOM?land, that is of the highest standard, we should be able to get the same [approval] very simple, very straightforward in another,” Forstmayr told journalists during the recent 15th annual Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC), held in Montego Bay, Jamaica. “So the processes get a little simpler.
“[When] flying through airspace, you don’t need to pay three different fees in order to fly and [be] handed over and over from one flight control center to another.”
The situation is especially important for the region now, given many countries in the region are now just beginning to see visitor arrivals creep to pre-recession levels. With skyrocketing oil prices threatening to have a similar effect on tickets to the region, tourism leaders are now rolling out all possible measures to counter its influence on arrivals.
Forstmayr said while he understood some countries are under certain restrictions being a territory of another country, the region needed to come together on the issue of airspace.
“I think these are the issues that CARICOM and the [Caribbean Tourism Organization] must address because...you can’t swim here and you need to grow air travel between ourselves and between the international marketplace,” he said.
“One license to land in Barbados should suffice and ensure that the same equipment can land in?Montego Bay or Kingston, because they’re at international standards.”
The Bahamas is now on its way to regaining control of its airspace, Vanderpool-Wallace confirmed earlier. He also asserts that transportation linkages with neighboring countries could be better facilitated by the establishment of one regional airspace.
“We want to make sure we identify and control our specific airspace, but also to the degree that what one regional airspace does is it makes it easier for airlines to move around the region... the two of them are not mutually exclusive,” he said. “If you got rules at every single country determining whether somebody’s going to fly there, you make it much more difficult to provide the transportation services that you need to put in place.”
The Nassau Guardian