Precarious air transport in the Greater Caribbean has relied on significant funding from national budgets by means of national subsidies to airlines and protectionism, sacrificing resources that could be better utilised on other aspects of our sustainable development agendas and restricting private sector initiative.
Recent times have witnessed interesting events in the region:
The disappearance of BWIA and the creation of Caribbean Air;
The raising of the Eastern Caribbean aviation sector to category one by the Federal Aviation Authority of the United States;
New leadership in Air Jamaica and LIAT,
The entry into the market by other Venezuelan airlines as competition for AEROPOSTAL;
The “purchase” of Caribbean Star by LIAT.
In this context, there has been a renewal of the debate regarding co-operation/integration as an option that is more viable collectively than current attempts of individual action, in circumstances where small airlines have such little control.
Even though there has also been, almost inevitably, a resurgence of the old idea to create a regional airline, which sounds appealing and could perhaps be viable one day, what is pressing today is a solution that would pool existing capabilities in order to create a truly functional air transport system for the Greater Caribbean that would be larger than the sum of its parts.
In the area of air transport, the efforts of the Association must continue to focus on promoting solutions that would satisfy the urgent need for a general aviation policy for the Greater Caribbean, providing a legal and co-operation framework that would facilitate more air service options (reduction of costs and prices, more routes, more carriers and improved services), as well as ensuring the highest levels of protection and operating safety for international civil aviation.
In the area of maritime transport, the Directorate for Transport must continue to focus on:
Facilitating mechanisms to reduce the lack of knowledge regarding the maritime transport services available, including aspects such as rules and procedures, data on infrastructure, statistics on cargo volumes, etc.
Facilitating co-operation for regulatory and legal reform and for a change in administrative practices.
Facilitating investment and co-operation to modernise existing installations, especially on the basis of the 2 previous points
Recognising that there is currently no harmonious Maritime-Port System to facilitate intra-regional trade, the Maritime-Port Network is geared toward economic and trade integration, preserving the environment and conserving natural resources through increased interaction among States, in order to promote the sustainable development of the Greater Caribbean by modernising and adjusting maritime infrastructure to meet the needs of consumer centres and international demands.