Economic forum the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has called for the establishment of a new Caribbean airline to serve the area on a regional basis.
WTTC president Julia Simpson used her appearance at a Caribbean Aviation Day hosted by aviation industry group the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to make the call.
Ms Simpson said: “I know it’s been discussed for many years but the Caribbean needs to act as an entity to build capacity to benefit everyone. Demand is there and I believe investors are there too.”
Ms Simpson also urged a lowering of air taxes, which she said could drive business and investment growth.
“We know that this stimulates customer demand while making it more commercially viable for the airlines to operate,” she said.
She pointed to the example of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda implementing a 50% cut in taxes on airline tickets for travel within several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries.
“More countries need to follow in these footsteps. In fact, by the Caribbean adopting some common policies, it will make the whole of the region much more powerful,” Ms Simpson said.
Currently Caribbean Airlines acts as the international flag carrier of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana. The likes of Panama-based Copa Airlines and JetBlue in the US also operate in the Caribbean, as does French-owned Air Caraibes, which operates out of Guadeloupe.