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[UPDATED] CAL adds additional domestic flights, stakeholders want more

Martin George & Company > Newspaper Articles  > [UPDATED] CAL adds additional domestic flights, stakeholders want more

[UPDATED] CAL adds additional domestic flights, stakeholders want more

Caribbean Airlines (CAL) will increase the number of flights on the domestic airbridge from April 2.

In a press release on Wednesday, CAL said it will operate 24 daily services to meet the inter-island travel demand.

The Prime Minister recently announced that the majority of covid19 restrictions, including safe zones, will be dropped from April 4.

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine and a number of business stakeholders in Tobago had been calling for CAL to beef up the number of domestic flights for the Easter period. All flights to Tobago for the next two weeks had already been sold out.

On Monday, Augustine said Tobago needs a “bumper” season. He added that restrictions should have been lifted sooner.

Reacting to CAL’s announcement, Augustine expressed delight on his Facebook page on Wednesday.

“I reached out to the Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Sunday evening seeking his intervention as head of Cabinet with getting Caribbean Airlines operations back to normalcy in time for the Easter vacation. He assured me then that he was already working on it,” Augustine posted.

“Today I am happy for this announcement by CAL as it means we can increase our domestic tourist intake and international visitors are more likely to get connections to Tobago. Thank you. We needed this.”

Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association (THTA) vice president Carol-Ann Birchwood-James believes even more flights are needed.

“We have lobbied for more flights and they have given us more, but it seems even more are needed.

“We are thankful for the extra flights because our tourism industry has really had a bad hit. We are looking for the industry to recover and therefore we need the state to facilitate us. Tobago is the place to go for Easter, and it is the place to go for a lot of our people who are unvaccinated and cannot travel anywhere, except for maybe Grenada next month.”

Tobago Business Chamber president Martin George agreed with Birchwood-James that more flights are needed, but went a step further.

“I’m quite happy to hear they have made the increase and we are grateful for additional flights, however we have to move to a situation where there is round-the clock, 24-hour service to Tobago.”

Asked whether this is feasible, George said the demand is there and goes beyond tourism.

“People could have a medical emergency and need to get to Trinidad. The only other way is by air ambulance or helicopter from Ministry of National Security. If the person can be carried on a normal aircraft…

“We have to move with the times and have seamless connectivity between the island. I have said repeatedly, this is the equivalent of people from San Fernando being cut off from Port of Spain. It is one nation, Trinidad and Tobago, we must have flowing and efficient access.”

He believes the additional flights will augur well for business activity this Easter.

“The point is, we are hoping for a tremendous uptick in arrivals, particularly in domestic tourism. We are hoping international tourism is back on board.”

With an influx of arrivals expected, George reminded people in the service sector about the requirements of the industry.

“We need to improve, be mindful of and work on the quality of service delivery in the tourism sector. It is still abysmally poor. That is still one of the drawbacks….A tourist is also a person coming from Trinidad. It’s not just people from foreign countries. Tobagonians need to understand that.”

Trinidadians going across to Tobago to enjoy Easter are unlikely to see any goat racing for the third straight year as Buccoo Village Council president Natasha Roachford told Newsday the organisation, which has organised the annual goat racing in Buccoo for decades, will not be taking part in any activities this year.

CAL reminded customers of its travel safety protocols including the mandatory wearing of masks during check-in, while boarding and for the duration of the flight.

This story has been updated to include additional information. Read original below:

Caribbean Airlines (CAL) will increase the number of flights on the domestic airbridge from April 2.

In a press release on Wednesday, CAL said it will operate 24 daily services to meet the inter-island travel demand.

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine and a number of business stakeholders in Tobago had been calling for CAL to beef up the number of domestic flights for the Easter period. On Monday, Augustine said Tobago needs a “bumper” season.

The Prime Minister recently announced that the majority of covid19 restrictions, including safe zones, will be dropped from April 4.

CAL reminded customers of its travel safety protocols including the mandatory wearing of masks during check-in, while boarding and for the duration of the flight.

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