|ATC shut out of expansion into Jamaica|
|Thursday, 02 December 2010 10:21|
Air Turks and Caicos CEO Lyndon Gardiner is fighting mad about the Jamaican government’s decision to shoot down his plans to expand service in their country.
In June, ATC applied for an operating license to take over routes from Air Jamaica Express, creating a hub for the TCI based airline in Kingston. “Our focus is to expand our service into the Northern Caribbean,” Gardiner told the fp in July.
Those plans came to a halt this week when ATC’s application to operate three brand new services was turned down by the Jamaica Air Services Licensing Board following objections from rival airline, Jamaica Air Shuttle (JAS).
“This is the wrong decision in my opinion,” Gardiner said. “It is an opportunity lost for better Northern Caribbean connections and the opening up of trade and tourism opportunities, particularly for Jamaica.
“These new routes would have created jobs, increased connectivity with Jamaica to more regional destinations — something that would have undoubtedly meant a huge boost for Jamaican commerce and tourism.”
Gardiner had plans to use the Kingston hub to take advantage of connections to major European and Russian markets.
The new routes would have taken the airline in and out of Kingston to Port Au Prince, Havana and Santo Domingo.
“The decision is a blow for Jamaica, TCI and Air Turks and Caicos. But the biggest blow is to the people of the Caribbean,” Gardiner added.
ATC also had applied for permission to fly between Kingston and Havana, but despite these being new services, JAS complained that it should be the airline to operate the routes even though it indicated no plans to do so in the near future.
“We are extremely disappointed about what’s happened and feel unfairly treated,” he added.
ATC say it will not be lodging an appeal, but confirmed its present services directly between the TCI and Jamaica are not affected by the decision.
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