By Shermain Bique-Charles
Effective today Monday, Antigua and Barbuda will slash its airport taxes on airline tickets in half for travel within CARICOM, according to Prime Minister Gaston Browne who is hoping to gain support from other regional leaders.
Browne said over the weekend that regional travel was reduced significantly as a consequence of very high airport taxes, and he is hoping to tackle the problem head-on.
“For every country LIAT enters, there are airport taxes for the passengers. Our airport tax is US$97.00 and if you enter into Barbados there is another tax. So technically…. half of your ticket cost is travel taxes,” he said.
Browne’s proposal will be one in which Antigua and Barbuda will ask CARICOM countries to move in lockstep with each other.
“We will be trying to get it on the CARICOM agenda to get a consensus at the OECS and CARICOM level. At this time when regional travel is extremely flat, there is really nothing to lose,” he said.
The reduction is for six months in the first instance after which it will be reviewed.
“We will then see how it impacts on revenue, and make a final determination going forward as to what percentage is sustainable,” he said.
This matter first came up during an OECS meeting about three weeks ago.