Farley: Break CAL’s Monopoly on Air Bridge

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

THE time has come for the monopoly that Caribbean Airlines holds over the domestic airbridge to be broken.

Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Farley Augustine said the situation with pilots employed with Caribbean Airlines over the weekend magnified problems that existed even before the Covid-19 pandemic.


He said, “We need to open our markets for airlines from all over the world to come and do the work that is necessary to bring visitors to and from the island.”

It was also time that a THA representative be placed on Caribbean Airline’s board so that the THA can have the kind of advocacy needed, Augustine said.

Speaking about the issue that caused hundreds of passengers to be inconvenienced Augustine said that for more than a year, the THA has been speaking to the airline about the management of the airbridge between the two islands.


“We have been advocating for the return of 24 daily flights. We still have not gone back to the pre-Covid number of flights.”

Every time the issue was raised, Cabinet members including those who represent Tobago use the excuse that it was not profitable enough to provide the flights, he said.

Augustine said, “It is ridiculous that people have to spend months trying to get a flight to Tobago and when they do, there is inconsistency on the air and sea bridge. This is 2023. And the air and sea bridge is more inconsistent than it was pre-Covid.”


Funded heavily by taxpayers’ dollars, he said Caribbean Airlines needed to understand that it has a duty to the nation first before any other country.

Augustine also apologised to those affected.

“We certainly extend sincerest apologies to all our visitors who had to suffer to either return home or to get into Tobago for the vacation.”

The THA Chief Secretary also said that next week, a public consultation on transport was scheduled to take place and he was looking forward to not just conversations but meaningful actions.


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