CHA White Paper On Caribbean Aviation Industry

As Caribbean government-owned airlines
take on the restructuring of their operations independently, in order to compete
effectively, the Caribbean hotel industry has made a call to the decision makers to
consider a solution they have yet to contemplate: full operational integration. The
proposed solution is a result of the ‘Think Tank’ session on Caribbean Aviation held
in June 2005 during the Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference (CHIC), in Miami,
Florida. The Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) has taken on the compilation of the
deliberations of this session, edited into a five-page White Paper that proposes
operational integration as the way forward for a viable solution to the regional air
services problem. The document has been distributed to CARICOM Heads of State,
Ministers and Directors of Tourism, Ministers and Directors of Aviation, and the
CARICOM Secretariat.

The proposed solution calls for the airlines to retain their individual operating
units and strong brand identities under common ownership in an “Airlines of the
Caribbean Group” operating an integrated schedule.

“As in any business, control
over market access is fundamental to success-more so for tourism, the only sector
that can realistically generate hard currency for the region’s economies and
meaningful employment for its people,” said Alec Sanguinetti, director general and
CEO of CHA.

“Operational integration would empower the Caribbean to achieve more
self-reliance in air transportation, which will in turn provide Caribbean tourism
with a solid foundation on which to build its future.”  Such integration would
result in profitability, lower fares, and expanded service.

The White Paper concludes that while full integration is ideal to maximize the
benefits, the proposed structure should be flexible enough to allow partial
integration initially with space for others to join at a later date.

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The White Paper follows on the footsteps of successful advocacy initiatives led by
the Caribbean Hotel Association over the past year to support the decision-making
process as it relates to the development of the Caribbean tourism industry.

These
include the study on the economic impact of Travel & Tourism in the Caribbean
launched in 2004, as well as the lobbying efforts undertaken in the wake of the
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which would require a valid passport for
re-entry to the United States for Americans returning by air and sea to or from the
Caribbean as of January 1st, 2006-now postponed until January 1st, 2007. 


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