MARIGOT, St Martin, Monday September 19, 2011 – Chief Executive Officer of low-cost carrier Redjet Ian Burns has accused Caribbean governments of seeking to protect their own aviation interests by failing to deliver on an open skies agreement.
The charge was leveled at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s inaugural State of the Industry conference which has just ended here.
Burns said the “outdated” agreements that are in force in the region “seek to restrict growth and allow for political control to operate protectionism in direct conflict with the developments in aviation throughout the globe and consumer rights.”
“We have got to bring an end to the failed policies of protectionism and bureaucracy and relieve the over-burdened tax payer of a milestone that deprives countries of hospitals, schools and sustainable job creation,” he told the meeting.
LIAT’s CEO Brian Challenger refuted the claim stating that anyone who wishes to compete can do so.
“The only restrictions within our network would be those restrictions that govern the Dutch, the French – the metropolitan country where they may have more restrictive aviation agreements,” he said.
British Airways CEO Keith Williams who was also involved in the deliberations on the aviation sector, announced plans to reduce flights to the Caribbean next summer.
He blamed this on ticket taxes and reduced demand from UK travelers.
Hosted under the theme “How to win in a Competitive Environment”, the event brought together ministers, directors of tourism, among other interest groups.