Prime Minister Gaston Browne is insistent that the government taxes which make up a bulk of airline ticket prices must be reduced.
However, the Antigua and Barbuda leader failed to give a commitment to reduce the taxes when he spoke on Pointe FM over the weekend.
He made the remarks while speaking on the problem of high cost of travel on regional carrier LIAT.
“We accept that those fees are extremely high and the need for the governments to come together and to reduce those fees,” Browne said adding that this alone will not solve all the airline’s problems.
Browne said the high landing fees and airport taxes all contribute to the high cost of tickets.
He estimates that at least 50 percent of the cost of a ticket is airport taxes.
“It’s not LIAT charging you all that money. We have to literally reduce those fees in order to support regional travel,” the prime minister said.
He said while governments have been critical of UK’s Air Passenger Duty, they too are guilty of hurting the demand for travel “by having those very high airport taxes.”
Browne said while the taxes may have been necessary for the construction of the airports, it is now time to “systemically reduce those airport fees.”
“Not to create a crisis but to help increase demand.”
The prime minister says he plans to engage other Caribbean heads of governments at a conference to go at the reduction of airline taxes and support for LIAT together.
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