Gov’t Optimistic about Keeping open Skies Agreement during Transition


Minister with Responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, is optimistic that the Government will be able to iron out the transition between Air Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines, as it relates to the Open Skies agreement with the United States.
Speaking at a post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House Wednesday (April 7), Mr. Vaz noted that a team is currently in Washington undertaking the negotiations. He added that, based on a report presented to Cabinet on Tuesday (April 6) by Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry, the discussions are going very well.
“We don’t see any problem, in terms of the transition between Caribbean Airlines and Air Jamaica. We are satisfied that there are no stumbling blocks, as far as that is concerned,” Mr. Vaz said.
He noted that the government is seeking permission from the United States’ Department of Transportation (DOT) to continue to operate on the terms of its existing authority, during the transition period, under the divestment agreement with Caribbean Airlines.
The other alternative would be to request a waiver of DOT’s standard ownership and control policy, which would allow Air Jamaica to carry on its services for the transition period, under its transitional services agreement with Caribbean Airlines.
Under the Open Skies agreement signed with the US government in October, 2008 the airline has to be owned by Jamaica, or Jamaican nationals. Caribbean Airlines is Trinidadian owned.
The Agreement applies to scheduled and charter passenger services, together with cargo services. It also allows unrestricted international traffic rights and permits Jamaican carriers (Air Jamaica) to serve from points behind Jamaica via Jamaica and intermediate points, to any point in the United States and beyond.

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