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CAL, Guyana Govt discuss ‘high’ airfares

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Caribbean Airlines executives and the Guyanese Government have met to discuss what travellers from the South American country have described as high airfares charged by the national carrier.
At a meeting last Sunday held at the Ministry of Housing in Guyana, an executive team from Caribbean Airlines met Guyanese officials to discuss issues raised by Guyanese travellers and the Diaspora, in respect of the airline’s fares and services.

Caribbean Airlines’ executive team was headed by chairman Philip Marshall, and included Cpt Jagmohan Singh, chief executive officer (acting) and Nalini Lalla, general counsel.

The Government of Guyana was represented by Tourism Minister Mohammed Irfan Ali, Public Works Minister Robeson Benn, Ramesh Ghir, CEO, Cheddi Jagan International Airport, and chairman of the Guyana Tourism Authority Mohammed Qualander among others.

Ali raised issues on behalf of the Guyana diaspora, which included the perception that fares charged by Caribbean Airlines were excessive; the in-transit process for people arriving into Piarco International Airport is considered a major inconvenience by many Guyanese travellers; and the airline’s customer service generally needs improvement, the airline said in a statement.

“There was mutual agreement that the benefits to Caribbean Airlines of its designation by Guyana as its flag carrier, were much less than anticipated. The constraints to progressing the advantages of the grant of flag carrier status, were discussed in detail, and Caribbean Airlines agreed to present a paper to Guyana, outlining strategies that should lead to improved benefits to both parties,” the CAL statement said.

Marshall said the mandate of the airline’s shareholders was to achieve viable sustainability during a period of reduced financial support, and signalled that the Guyana route continued to be an important part of the Caribbean network.

CAL’s statement said Marshall noted the concerns raised about the wide variation in airfares on flights to/from Guyana, which led to some passengers paying relatively high prices. He said CAL was taking a fresh approach to pricing management which would minimise the need for such high airfares while achieving the airline’s mandate to remain sustainable.

The Guyana contingent updated Caribbean Airlines on the country’s economic progress, the project to upgrade facilities at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, the current status of Ogle Airport, and the positive impact of its now aggressive tourism drive.

The Guyana contingent recognised that the in-transit process at the Piarco International Airport was driven by United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) mandates in respect of CAL’s outgoing US-bound flights, and the parties agreed that both governments would make joint representation to the US authorities, to seek a solution that was less onerous on the Guyana travellers, the CAL statement added.