Above: a LIAT plane
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Are government air taxes stifling regional air carrier LIAT?
That may be the case, according to Grenada Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell.
Mitchell said that Grenada was prepared to be a partner in LIAT, but only if it can show itself to be “serious and cost effective,” according to Grenada Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell.
Mitchell was addressing the OECS Heads of Government meeting this week.
“We’re prepared to make sacrifices but we will not be able to support a business if it cannot demonstrate that it can get its act together and provide what we believe is necessary” much cheaper transport and much more efficient transport to the OECS and the Caribbean region as a whole,” Mitchell said.
One of the reasons for that is the high cost of air taxes in the region, according to the Grenadian Prime Minister.
Mitchell said governments were charging a number of taxes that were causing LIAT fares to be higher than they should be.
“We cannot tax ourselves out of a serious issue of affordable transport,” the Prime Minister said.
According to an analysis by Caribbean Journal, a one-way ticket from St Kitts to nearby Antigua on LIAT on Saturday morning cost $212.40, but $98.40 of that total, or about 46 percent, was comprised of taxes and surcharges.
“We can drop the cost and reduce taxes, what we’re going to find out is that LIAT may be a much more successful enterprise, more people will travel [and] the governments are going to get much more revenue by multiplying the amount of people that will be traveling,” he said.
LIAT is owned by a group of 11 Caribbean governments, including Grenada as a minor shareholder. LIAT’s principal shareholders include Barbados, Antigua, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica.