Dear Sir, I WRITE to provide information and deeper insight for the public on matters raised in an editorial of a newspaper on September 18, 2019 with the headline “In-transit refuelling risks.” I would be grateful if you kindly permit me to share the following with your readers: Caribbean Airlines continues to serve Guyana, the diaspora and the community consistently with an average of six daily flights to/from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. The airline operates within various civil aviation regulations that govern air transport. These include the United States Department of Transport (USDOT), Transport Canada, the Federal Aviation Authority, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority and the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority. The safety and security of all our customers are the airline’s first priorities and our fuelling and refuelling processes are done in accordance with approved civil aviation procedures. Caribbean Airlines has detailed international, accepted and approved procedures for refuelling our aircraft with passengers on board. These procedures are proven, tested and strictly adhered to at ALL times by our competent employees and is a normal practice in the industry. Caribbean Airlines is also a long-standing partner with Guyana and the diaspora, as evidenced by our consistent support for community activities, including but not limited to: * Independence and Republic celebrations * Sponsorship of the Park Side Steel Orchestra * Mashramani * Duck Curry and Chutney Monarch Competition * Phagwa * Kite Flying * Kind Soles * The Guyana Trade and Investment Exhibition * The Iwokrama International Centre
Additionally, the airline has responded positively on numerous occasions to major humanitarian requests by the people and Government of Guyana. For example, Caribbean Airlines put on additional services and transported stranded passengers left by the Fly Jamaica crash in November 2018. Caribbean Airlines carried these stranded passengers from several points including Guyana, Kingston, Toronto and New York at no cost to the passengers. The airline also responds expeditiously in the event of natural disasters, even when other carriers cease operating into Guyana. The editorial also stated: “One enduring area of major concern – (high cost of tickets and poor quality of in-flight service are subjects for later discussion) what remains, is the treatment of passengers who are in-transit, to and from North America, at Piarco International Airport, in Trinidad.” On the point of ticket prices:
* Caribbean Airlines has and continues to carefully manage ticket prices for the Guyana market. It is useful to note that the ticket prices of other foreign carriers are in fact regularly higher than Caribbean Airlines, particularly with respect to fares that include a checked bag. On Caribbean Airlines our customers’ first bags always flies for free. * Caribbean Airlines has increased the number of non-stop services between Guyana and JFK and continues to appeal to the relevant authorities to facilitate seventh-freedom services which would enable Caribbean Airlines to bypass Trinidad and fly directly between Guyana and the United States of America (USA). This goes beyond the Multi-Lateral Air Services Agreement (MASA) and would allow for flights directly to/from the USA. If Caribbean Airlines is granted seventh-freedom approval, the airline would no longer have a mandatory regulatory requirement to pass through Trinidad and thus, will save on the costs incurred for this unnecessary part of customers’ journey.
Obtaining seventh-freedom approval would resolve significant challenges and place Caribbean Airlines’ operations on a level playing field with the North American registered airlines, which fly directly between Guyana and the United States. This would allow the current costs of operating Caribbean Airlines flights to be reduced to the levels of the other airlines and, consequently, reduce the cost of tickets. With respect to the in-transit matters, as mentioned, airlines globally must comply with the international regulations set out by various regulatory bodies.
The requirement for in-transit passengers to disembark is a decision of the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, which must abide by the regulations of the United States Transport Security Administration (US TSA). Caribbean Airlines has worked feverishly to minimise inconvenience to all passengers, including our valued Guyanese customers. I am happy to advise that the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (AATT) will, in short time, further improve the in-transit facilities at the Piarco International Airport, Trinidad, to enhance the customer experience for all in-transit passengers.
Guyana is a key and growing destination for Caribbean Airlines and we do not take lightly the contributions and loyalty of our valued Guyanese customers. Having just concluded a visit to Guyana which included media interviews, I would be delighted to sit with you to provide any further information you need concerning Caribbean Airlines. Thank you for the opportunity to provide this information.
Sincerely, Dionne Ligoure Head of Corporate Communications Caribbean Airlines Limited
LINK ORIGINAL: Guyana Chronicle