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Jamaica and Brazil today (Dec. 14) signed a bi-lateral agreement, which will facilitate direct air services between the two countries. Transport & Works Minister, Michael Henry, deputizing for Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade Minister, Dr. Ken Baugh, and outgoing Brazilian Ambassador to Jamaica, Cezar Augusto De Souza Lima Amaral signed the agreement in a brief ceremony at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
The signing was the culmination of negotiations on a draft of the agreement between the countries, which concluded in August 2006.
In addition to facilitating commercial passenger and cargo flights, the agreement, which comes into effect today, allows for code sharing alliances among designated airlines in both countries, while Jamaica’s potential as an alternative gateway for connecting service between North and South America, will be explored.
Mr. Henry said the agreement will, further, promote fair competition among airlines while avoiding discrimination and abuse of dominant positions; bring air transport safety and security features in line with international standards; and allow airlines to operate combination and/or all-cargo services on specified routes. Additionally, the opportunities for cultural and intellectual rights are opened up along with greater collaborations, which will enhance tourism and investment possibilities.
The Minister explained that, in negotiating the agreement, the government sought to protect the national carrier, Air Jamaica, by ensuring that it is not rendered “vulnerable to the vicissitudes of asymmetric competition.”
“In an increasingly globalized world, the government recognizes that the air transport sector is important for economic growth and development but it must be complemented by a multi-modal approach to the movement of people, goods, and services,” he pointed out.
Mr. Henry disclosed that logistics pertaining to destinations and routes, and frequency of flights, are to be examined and worked out by the designated airlines in both countries.
Ambassador Amaral, in his remarks, noted that the arrangement will be significant in reducing the challenges experienced by Brazilians visiting Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, who are forced to travel through Miami.
“Jamaica is a very important tourist destination (and) it is a very important product for sale in North America (and) Europe, but it could also be, in South America. I hope that this agreement will make it possible for more people from Brazil and South America to come to Jamaica,” he stated.