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PM Gonsalves Says High Cost of Regional Air Travel Unavoidable

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): High travel taxes affecting regional air travel are a necessary evil, according to CARICOM Chairman – Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Dr Gonsalves is acknowledging 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 Prime Minister Gonsalves says 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,” Prime Minister Gonsalves said.

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

Listen to the full report here

 

 

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