The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments and other aviation stakeholders in the region to work together to maximize the benefits of aviation connectivity.
“Aviation is essential to supporting tourism in the Caribbean region, transporting approximately 50 per cent of all tourists who travel here. It also provides a vital lifeline when disaster strikes, as occurred during last autumn’s devastating hurricane season,” said Peter Cerdá, IATA’s Regional Vice President, The Americas.
Speaking at Aviation Day Caribbean, organized by IATA, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association, Cerdá said that aviation supports over 1.6 million jobs and more than US$35.9 billion in gross domestic product (GDP), equivalent to 14 per cent of the total Caribbean economy.
He said that, in one Caribbean state, roughly70 per cent of the average one-way fare is made up of taxes and charges, according to a recent report commissioned by IATA.
There are 10 other Caribbean markets for which taxes and charges represent more than 30 per cent of the ticket price, according to the same report.
IATA said Barbados recently joined this taxing trend, stating that “the government’s short-term budget imposes significant new taxes on air travelers.”
IATA said while excessive taxes are just one challenge, another is the high cost of operating at a number of the region’s airports owing to expensive fees and charges.