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THA Chief Secretary to Finance Minister: Tobago wants its own airline

Published: 
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) wants a separate airline to service the T&T airbridge. THA Chief Secretary Orville London proposed this to Finance Minister Larry Howai when the two met during a 2015 budget consultation on July 17. “I think that one of the issues we did get traction from the Minister of Finance was the delinking of the T&T airbridge from Caribbean Airlines (CAL). Our position is that we are in fact in the present system mixing two types of operations which are incompatible,” said London in a statement on the meeting at last Wednesday’s post-Executive Council media briefing. “We are asking Caribbean Airlines to make a profit but, on the other hand, we are accepting the fact that the T&T airbridge has to be subsidised. We are saying that this situation is untenable, it is unworkable and it will create problems for the central government and, of course, the people of T&T.” “Our strong recommendation is that we return to a more efficient arrangement which would entail that we have a separate airline running the bridge between T&T where we could deal with all the nuances, we could determine what level of subsidy, we could determine what is the best type of airplane and we can ensure that it achieve the objective with respect to bringing people between the two islands,” he said. “We are convinced that if we have an efficient airbridge there will be tens of millions worth in benefit to the tourism sector,” London said in the statement. London said he was heartened by the response of the Minister of Finance as well as by the response of Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz, whom he met earlier this month and was looking forward to a statement on the matter in this year’s budget.