Augustine: Solution to airbridge issues may lie outside of CAL

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Augustine: Solution to airbridge issues may lie outside of CAL

THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine has suggested the possibility of the assembly wet-leasing a few planes to deal with the problems on the domestic airbridge.

Speaking during a stakeholder consultation on inter-island transport and connectivity at Mt Irvine Bay Resort in Tobago on Tuesday, Augustine said the solution to fixing disruptions on the airbridge may lie outside of state-owned carrier Caribbean Airlines (CAL) and the government.

He said: “While we decide on what CAL can do, what the Parliament can do, we also should also discuss if there are strategies we can employ outside of Cabinet, outside of CAL, to fix this.”

Augustine suggested finding money to wet-lease some planes, adding: “Should we find every imaginable airline that we can find and just have them come here directly?”

He also asked, “Is there someone in Trinidad who has to sign off and agree, that this new flight from a new place can come here? And if that is the case, do we then return to square one?”

Augustine also touched on issues at the Port of Port of Spain, saying that even before boarding vessels, passengers are not properly catered for.

He said they often have to make a “mad dash” across Wrightson Road to get to the port.

“They built a walkover nearby, but they did not even consider the travellers between Trinidad and Tobago, to think that there needs to be a solution at Wrightson Road…You who coming from Tobago has to still make that dash across the road. Nobody really care about you.”

Augustine said when the passengers get to the port, they have to “stand up under a tent in the sun and rain in the most undignified manner.

The consultation included Tobago Chamber of Commerce president Curtis Williams and former Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association vice-president Carol-Ann Birchwood-James.