You can find reasons to be positive for future Carribbean connectivity

Intra-Caribbean surroundings traffic is faced with a troublesome tax environment, yet despite the difficult operating conditions the situation is searching brighter.

A region resplendent with  beaches, sunshine and worldclass  hospitality does not  sound as though it would need to do too  much function to attract air services. Yet the  Caribbean has not been as well-served as  might be expected.

Many of the difficulties stem from  the burdensome tax environment.   “ As tourism is the main revenue for  most Caribbean nations, the particular local  governments levy hefty fees on  international passengers, ” states Gustavo  A de Hostos, TOP DOG at General Air Services  and also a board member of APG, a  system for airline distribution and  finance.  

International companies have therefore  tended to cherry pick a few of the major  islands in order to serve, knowing the market  would be powerful enough to withstand the  cost. Connection to and within the others  island destinations was left to regional service providers.

The problem is, those local carriers  find it very hard to establish a sustainable  business model. While the Caribbean is not  a large area geographically, there are an  awful lot of island nations. Therefore , a trip of a few  minutes could be designated an international  service. This means the ticket price of a  little regional carrier is eaten upward by taxes,   making revenue hard to come by.

In fact , InselAir president and  CEO Albert Kluyver noted  recently that intra-Caribbean visitors is the  only major marketplace where air traffic has  dropped in the past 10 years.   However , an area so blessed by natural  beauty does not easily give in to doom  and gloom.

Regardless of the tough operating  environment, InselAir along with other regional  carriers, such as the resurrected PAWA  Dominicana, have been performing well and  have grown their networks. The Dominican  airline has just begun flights through Santa  Domingo to Miami utilizing an MD-83, the US  gateway becoming a member of eight Caribbean routes on  the particular airline’ s route map.

InselAir flies Fokker 50s and Fokker 70s  – creating a reach of about three hours  to places like Ecuador plus Miami – but is  trying to serve longer-haul destinations  in South usa.

Combining its local services with  international flights may be the platform for  success. InselAir offers interline agreements  with almost all air carriers that fly into Curaç ao,   meaning the seamless incorporation gives a  real boost pertaining to passengers connecting longhaul  destinations along with smaller islands.

The virtuous cycle is being created. Good  regional networks encourage international  air carriers to be more adventurous in their  own outlook. As de Hostos puts it: “ Intra-Caribbean traffic is crucial to the success  of a multi-destination technique and feeding  large intercontinental airplane. ”

Several other components are feeding  into an increasingly prosperous equation.   Perhaps most notably, an over-all relaxation  of visa requirements can be boosting Caribbean  air traffic.   Several Caribbean nations –   Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, Saint Vincent  and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and  Tobago – reached the deal with the  European Union and the Schengen region  for visa waivers, for instance , adding to the  freedom enjoyed simply by UK and Irish citizens.  

Other G20 nations have followed suit.   “ And as visas are eliminated for  Dominicans, Jamaicans and Cubans, three  of the most populous island nations,   intra-Caribbean traffic is increasing, ”   says de Hostos. That will translates  into plenty of opportunities  for brand spanking new air service.

The overall Air  Services CEO points  to a different critical  element in  today’ ersus troubled  geopolitics.   “ The truth that  the region is considered  secure by most  G20 citizens  proceeds to  be an important  exterior driver, ”   he says. Blending safety with sun, sea and  sand is a magnet for many worldwide travellers  and should not be underestimated within the  modern era.

Of course , safety cannot be the only  card played and Caribbean nations are  working hard to attract site visitors, both on an  individual schedule and collectively. The cruise  company is critical and many of the islands  are usually spending lavishly on improving port  services and interconnectivity with flights  to make the fly-cruise option as pain-free as  possible for passengers.

“ All local governments are usually spending  more and more funds on promoting  tourism, ” agrees de Hostos. He estimates  the cruise company is a major driver for the  5-10% increase being seen in international  air traffic to the Caribbean year-on-year.

The Caribbean Travel and leisure Organization  (CTO) is one of an amount of entities  pushing at the boundaries associated with marketing,   working on the principle that free-spending  governments will produce even more freespending  tourists. Its modern aviation task force  (ATF) states it “ accepts that air access  is integral to the archipelago’ h tourism  growth and there is a have to increase  access to the international plus regional  markets, increase economic benefits  generated by growth and development  of tourism and improve the region’ s  competitive position in the market place”.

Aside from detailed presentations  to regional policy makers plus aviation  personnel, the CTO-ATF continues to be active  in various disciplines related to improving  air service and increasing travel and leisure numbers.   This includes technical insight to the revision  of the Caribbean Local community (CARICOM)  multi-lateral air services contract, drafting  a proposed new typical embarkation /  disembarkation card just for CARICOM member  countries and developing airline negotiation  guidelines and associated procedures for CTO  member nations.

It has additionally shaped a highly  focused Aviation Panel to facilitate  air transportation straight into and throughout the  Caribbean and also to enhance airlift.   Infrastructure should also keep pace  with developments. Bad airport facilities  previously buttressed the particular wall of taxation  that local carriers found hard to deal with  but , again, there are grounds just for optimism.

St Lucia is due to announce details  of the advancement Hewanorra  International Airport, the main  worldwide gateway to the island, under  the public-private partnership agreement.   Cayman islands land and Curaç ao are amongst many  others that either curently have undertaken  or have plans for, capability and service  quality improvements.  

Meanwhile, Princess Juliana International  Airport in St Maarten has introduced  six self-service eGates for departing  passengers. The task has been  implemented in combination with the  Immigration and Border Protection  Solutions, a department within the  Ministry of Justice of St Maarten.

The  department’ s i9000 claim that it is committed to  the particular “ modernisation of airport processes”   illustrates the growing awareness  of authorities to the challenges and  potential benefit of air transport in  the region.   The eGates, given by Vision-  Box, are integrated along with common-use  infrastructure of the airport to provide a fast  but accurate security manage procedure.

Elsewhere,   Aruba’ s air traffic keeps growing.   InselAir remains a major participant but a  notable feature from the forthcoming  season is an expansion in america market.   A total of sixteen, 800 additional seats  in 2016 to the island out of the North  United states region equates to about 4%  development in capacity.

United states Airlines has already added a  3rd daily service to Miami whilst JetBlue  has added extra plane tickets out of Boston  and New York (JFK). Both services will  use JetBlue’ s Airbus A321premium Mint  encounter aircraft.

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines has  upgauged the Atlanta– Aruba route to a  Boeing 767-400 from a Boeing 737-900.   The new aircraft will operate between  December 17, 2016, and Mar 25,   2017, an overall 12% increase in Delta’ s  Aruba profile. United Airlines is also  including 11% capacity out of Newark,   a combination of additional weekly  services plus larger aircraft during  peak times.   The Canadian market views the  greatest expansion, a growth associated with 24%  translates to 5, 665 extra seats on  25 additional plane tickets.

“ The airport terminal is constantly working  on improving the efficiency and service  to the expanding passenger count, ”   states James Fazio, CEO of the airport  authority. “ With each prediction we are  convinced that our hard work to further  develop and broaden the airport facility is  urgently needed. ”

Full Beatrix International Airport  last finished a major renovation  more than decade back, adding both an  international plus an US-bound passenger  building. More recently, it offers revamped  the look and feel from the airport, bringing  the warmth of the Carribbean into the  terminal through colors and textures.

Any kind of new airport development will  potentially take advantage of improved  passenger processing plus security.   Aruba Happy Circulation started in May 2015,   the combined effort of the government  associated with Aruba, the local airport, KLM, the  Schiphol Group and Vision-Box.

Once a passenger’ s e-passport is  authenticated and matched in order to the  person holding the record, process  information is stored in a private data  envelope. This single biometric token is  then used each and every additional touchpoint,   including handbag drop, border/access  control and boarding.

Waiting times are usually reduced,   infrastructure use could be optimised  and the real-time data generated  enables dynamic support of the airport  process and passenger flow pertaining to all  stakeholders involved.

All in all, it may be that Caribbean  government authorities are finally awakening to the  fact that the owning a slice associated with paradise  is not enough to secure a proper and  sustainable aviation industry. Taxation  remains an issue and the regional carriers  are still vulnerable. InselAir has a lot  of money tied up in blocked money in  Venezuela, hurting its income, while  PAWA Domincana has however to encounter  any real disturbance snce ibirth.   But there is certainly good cause to be positive. In  the Caribbean, it’ s difficult to be anything else.  

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