PM Spencer concerned about high airfares

GRAND ANSE, Grenada, May 25, 2007 – Rising airfares in the Caribbean is a cause of concern for Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda.

Spencer, who is the outgoing Chairman of the OECS Authority, called on his colleagues to address the high cost of intraregional travel.

“We share the concern expressed in many quarters regarding the recent escalation in the cost of inter-regional air travel, reflected in the rise in ticket cost.  We must, however, proceed to address this on a rational and clearly programmed basis,” he said, while addressing the Opening Ceremony of the 45th Meeting of the OECS Authority in Grenada on Wednesday.

He outlined that the merger arrangements between LIAT and Caribbean Star Airlines need to be finalized and put in place.

“The streamlining that is consonant with that step must proceed with dispatch.  We can then address the issue of air fares with a view to their effective rationalization, and most importantly, their stabilization. We must be proactive and clear-sighted on this matter, rather than responding to short-term adjustments with inappropriate measures.  Let us do things properly,” he said.

This week, the shareholder governments of the airline which include Antigua and Barbuda and St. Vincent and the Grenadines announced that the merger arrangements are expected to be completed by June 15.

The merger will see the ownership of the new airline “LIAT The Star of the Caribbean,” being 65 per cent owned by Caribbean Shareholder governments and other LIAT shareholders and 35 per cent  to the Stanford Financial Group. (Ends)