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Jamaica is set to sign at least seven new open skies agreements with as many countries, at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Conference for Air Service Negotiations (ICAN), scheduled for June 27 to July 2 in Montego Bay, St. James.
It is also expected that the country will open the door for another 20 or more contracts, at the conference.
The meeting, which is to be held at the Ritz Carlton Resort, will see Jamaica hosting more than 40 states, including countries from Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America.
Speaking at the launch of ICAN 2010 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in New Kingston, today (June 10), Director of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Derby, said Jamaica is set to benefit tremendously under the new open skies agreements.
The Director said it is anticipated that the increased airflows of foreign carriers will generate more jobs, as well as wealth in the economy.

Transport and Works Minister, Hon. Michael Henry, addresses the audience during the launch of the International Civil Aviation Organisation Authority (ICAO) Conference for Air Service Negotiations (ICAN), at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, today (June 10). At right is Director of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Derby.

He said Jamaica will, therefore, seek to explore the possibility of entering open skies agreements with as many states as possible, to create highways that should see an increase in air commerce to unprecedented levels.
“Jamaica’s involvement in ICAN comes at a crucial time, as the Government is shifting its focus to a more liberalised approach to air transport by adopting an open skies policy that provides for the interest of the passengers and the economy, while the interest of the airlines and airports are assured within the framework of a more competitive market driven regime,” he said.
Mr. Derby noted that air commerce was a significant driver of the economy and an open skies policy was an important strategy to increase air commerce, adding that the exit of the national carrier, Air Jamaica, from the market has further made it possible for the government to pursue open skies agreements.
“While Jamaica may not have the capacity to take advantage of the reciprocity allowed under these agreements, at this time, the opportunities will be created for potential investors who wish to establish airlines and other air commerce activities in the future,” he posited.

Chairman of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) Board, Y.P. Seaton (left), in discussion with Transport and Works Minister, Hon. Michael Henry, at the launch of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Conference for Air Service Negotiations (ICAN), at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, today (June 10).

The Director said that having an open skies policy is one of the key elements in ensuring the continued growth of the aviation industry.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister, Hon. Michael Henry, said hosting ICAN 2010 in Jamaica will save tax payers millions of dollars that would have been spent to accommodate the delegates overseas for negotiations.
He said ICAN provides the delegation with the opportunity to meet all countries at one venue, instead of travelling to each country separately.
The maximum possible cost of $20 million for hosting the conference would have been expended on approximately four negotiations overseas, without the certainty of an air services agreement. The cost of securing bilateral air services agreements averages about $5 million per agreement.
The Minister pointed out that the conference will also provide Jamaica with the opportunity to form new economic partnerships, while it showcases its brands and culture to other countries.
Mr. Henry further noted that the 2030 Vision for Jamaica’s air transport industry is to have a thriving industry with Jamaica as a replacement to Miami International Airport and an alternative to Singapore as a regional hub for cargo and passenger traffic.