Antigua and Barbuda has announced a 50 per cent reduction in taxes on airline tickets for travel within several countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with St John’s indicating also that the measure will last for six months in the first instance.
“We think at this time where regional travel is relatively low, extremely flat that there is very little to lose and even though it may not be the best condition which to analyse the elasticity of ticket prices, it will give us some indicative indication as to how a reduction in pricing would impact on demand without creating a financial crisis, “Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.
“There is nothing to lose at this time, very little will oose as a result of cutting those taxes. So in the case of Antigua and Barbuda we have taken a decision to cut our regional airport taxes by 50 per cent, effective Monday (June 28) and we will do so for six months to see how it impacts on revenue and then to make a final determination going forward as to what percentage is sustainable, if it is 25, 40 or even the 50 per cent,” he added.
Browne, speaking on his weekly radio programme, said that the matter had also been discussed within the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) “probably about three weeks ago.
“At our last meeting unfortunately we did not get to ventilate it, but in our prime ministerial chat group, I know the discussions were held. The (OECS) Director General (Dr Didacus Jules) is trying to get us to do a round robin to confirm the proposal or to get a formal decision on reducing the airport taxes.”
Browne said that a reduction in taxes would assist the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, which has been placed under court ordered administration.
“This will also help LIAT too especially if the OECS and Barbados could come together and agree on a travel bubble and to allow for fully vaccinated persons to move without quarantining. We think that will be a win-win for all of us and will also increase our airport taxes hopefully because as it stands now people aren’t travelling so we are hardly collecting any taxes and if we can incentivise the process it will be a win-win for all stakeholders.”