The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments and other aviation stakeholders in the Caribbean region to work together to maximize the benefits of aviation connectivity.
“Aviation is essential to support tourism in the Caribbean region, transporting approximately 50% of all tourists who travel here, and it also provides a vital lifeline when a disaster occurs, as occurred during the devastating hurricane season of last autumn, “said Peter Cerda, IATA’s regional vice president. President, The Americas.
Speaking at Aviation Day Caribbean, organized by IATA, Caribbean Development Bank and the Air Transport Association of Latin America and the Caribbean, Cerda said that aviation supports more than 1.6 million jobs and more than $ 35.9 billion in GDP, equivalent to 14% of the total economy of the Caribbean. “Aviation can do much more if governments work with industry to maximize the value offered by aviation. Unfortunately, many governments in the region still believe that air travel is primarily a luxury for the rich, and an easy target for taxes, these taxes and fees are generally not spent on increasing the efficiency and capacity of airport infrastructure and airways, but rather to put money in the treasury, “said Cerda.
In a Caribbean state, approximately 70% of the unidirectional average rate is composed of taxes and charges, according to a recent report commissioned by IATA (1). There are 10 other markets in the Caribbean for which taxes and charges represent more than 30% of the ticket price, according to the same report.
Recently, Barbados added to this tax tendency as the government’s short-term budget imposes significant new taxes on air travelers. For a family of four traveling to Barbados from Europe or North America, the new tax will add a total of $ 280 to your travel cost. The tax will also affect air travelers within the nations of the Caribbean Community, adding $ 35 to each ticket, a significant increase in the short-haul markets where traffic is already suffering.
“While the budgetary challenges faced by many governments in the region can not be denied, imposing high tariffs and taxes on aviation and air travel negatively affects levels of tourism and business travel, the same things necessary for a dynamic economy” said Cerda.
Excessive taxes are only a challenge. Another is the high cost of operating in several airports in the region due to the expensive fares and charges. In addition, restrictive air service agreements in many countries reduce the number of routes that airlines can operate.
“The Caribbean region is well positioned to increase the benefits that aviation can offer, but this can only happen in partnership with governments that recognize that the true value of aviation lies in the connectivity it provides and the opportunities it creates, not in the rates and taxes that can be extracted from it, “said Cerda.