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High cost of regional air travel unavoidable, says St Vincent PM
Published on April 2, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version


By Ken Richards

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- High travel taxes affecting regional air travel are a necessary evil, according to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) chairman – Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Gonsalves acknowledged that there is merit in the argument by some passengers that the region continues pressing Britain to reduce its controversial APD – Air Passenger Duty, while in the case of regional airline LIAT the taxes imposed by Caribbean governments often make up more than half the cost of the actual airline ticket.

However, Gonsalves said the high cost of aviation support facilities and services, including airports, make such taxes necessary.

“It costs a lot of money to run these individual international airports … so the payment has to come from somewhere. And basically the users of the airport have to bear a little more cost than the ordinary taxpayer,” Gonsalves said.

St Vincent and the Grenadines is a key shareholder of regional airline LIAT. Gonsalves is recommending one management for all the airports in the OECS in a bid to cut costs. He described the cost factor associated with running airport facilities in the region is a very difficult hurdle to overcome.

Republished with permission of West Indies News Network
Reads: 44752

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Adrian Loveridge:

If this was the case then the same level of taxation would be applied to cruise ship passengers. They pay no VAT, which in Barbados is levied on all air travel at 17.5 per cent and they certainly do not pay the economic costs of operating a port. Caribbean Governments have virtually destroyed any growth in intra-regional travel by unfairly imposing unfair levels of taxation.


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