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Friday 14 August, 2020

AATT seeking to make Piarco Int'l Airport an intra-Caribbean hub

Piarco International Airport can become a Caribbean hub for the region, said the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (AATT) General Manager, Hayden Newton.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the 2020 edition of the Routes Americas forum in Indianapolis, Newton said it the Authority is looking for growth within the South American continent.

Newton said: “The Authority is exploring increasing connectivity within the Caribbean and the Americas and developing an intra-Caribbean hub at the Piarco International Airport.”

“The Authority is exploring increasing connectivity within the Caribbean and the Americas and developing an intra-Caribbean hub at the Piarco International Airport.”

“We are looking at opportunities for growth in South America and developing links into Chile, Argentina, Peru and other Latin American nations. We are also looking at new opportunities in Scandinavia and Europe, which can also open doors to Middle Eastern markets.”

AATT was represented by Newton, who made up a panel of international airport and airline executives, at a session titled, ‘How can Latin America and the Caribbean fulfil their promise?’.

Newton said Trinidad and Tobago’s market has a considerable business demographic.

He said: “Whereas, the traditional Caribbean market is focused on leisure tourism, the island of Trinidad attracts a large percentage of business passengers. In Trinidad, the business passenger accounts for about 30% of arriving visitors, whereas in the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean, the business traveller on average makes up about 15% of overall visitors.”

With a current annual passenger movement of about 3.5 million and forecasted increase, the Authority said it will continue to work with all stakeholders to support national aviation infrastructural development and the development of quality in-transit facilities.

“The continuous efforts in air service development will ensure that the aviation, tourism and other downstream industries are poised to contribute more substantially to national economic growth, and play a major part in realising national diversification goals,” AATT said.

The discussion was led by Felipe Luis de Oliveira, the current executive director and CEO of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA).

Newton, who is also a member of the Standing Negotiating Committee on Air Services Agreements, a committee appointed by the Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan, to oversee bilateral and multilateral air transportation agreements, was part of a team of officials representing Trinidad and Tobago at this year’s Routes forum from February 4th – 6th 2020.

Since the event, the Authority said it has had continued discussions with ‘interested companies’ that expressed interest in beginning services to the Piarco and ANR Robinson International Airports.

“In collaboration with the major aviation stakeholders, the Authority is confident that these negotiations can be successfully concluded,” the statement said.

AATT said the convention has been fruitful in the past, leading to positive outcomes with carriers like Jet Blue Airlines, West Jet and Sun Wing Airlines.

Other representatives included Emmanuel Baah, Deputy General Manager, Estate Planning and Business Development Ag. and Joanna Fridy, Acting Marketing Manager of the Authority and Carlton de Four, Air Transport Coordinator, of Tourism Trinidad Limited (TTL).

The Authority said the talks were held with an aim of attracting new airlines to commence service to Trinidad and Tobago’s airports and ensuring that existing services are maintained or augmented.

Routes Americas is one of the premier networking conferences for the aviation industry that brings together key decision-makers of airlines, airports and tourism bodies from all over the world with an interest in developing their route networks within the region.

The forum facilitates Air Service Development - the systematic approach by airports and associated stakeholders to increase airlift to a destination via airport and destination marketing. 

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