In a statement last evening, prime minister Mottley said : “As I indicated in a previous statement, the Government of Barbados has met with a number of airlines who have expressed interest in operating in the eastern and southern Caribbean.
“Barbados is fortunate that Inter Caribbean has been chosen as its southern hub with a view to expansion and the establishment of headquarters in the future. Inter Caribbean has been operating in the northern Caribbean for almost 30 years but under different brands. Their flights will start from Tuesday, August 4, 2020, from Barbados.
“We have already seen some of the potential coming from this decision of Inter Caribbean with them looking for the rental of some homes and cars and office space. I am told that some of the interviews for local staff have also started this week.
“As I said earlier this week, we will work cooperatively to review our tax regime to stimulate regional travel. In this, I know our late Prime Minister Mr. Owen Arthur will be smiling from wherever he is, for he strenuously supported the need to review fees and taxes as an impetus for renewed regional movement of our citizens and residents.
“It is my fervent wish that the final agreement for a regional bubble for air travel will be completed and started within the next two weeks so that we can leverage the minimal risk posed by moving within those countries of ours whose incidence is extremely low.”
At a CARICOM on-line meeting early July, prime minister Mottley announced that the shareholder governments would be forging ahead with the decision to liquidate the cash-strapped LIAT while welcoming six private airlines to take its place.
“I can report with certainty that since announcements were being made earlier this week about LIAT’s demise, six airlines have come forward offering to fill the space . . . We are satisfied that these six airlines can more than fill the immediate gap, particularly given the reduced traffic within the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mottley said.
Mottley, who was passing the CARICOM chairmanship to St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, said six airlines had confirmed services to the southern Caribbean, to begin in a matter of weeks. One of the airlines mentioned was Inter Caribbean airways, and included SVG Air, One Caribbean, Caribbean Airlines, Silver Airlines and Air Antilles.
Later in July, the governments of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados, major shareholders in the ailing regional airline LIAT, agreed to sell their shares to Antigua and Barbuda for one dollar ($1), consequent upon a reorganization plan put to them by prime minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda.
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