Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Make air travel cheaper, more viable

Published:Friday | June 28, 2019 | 12:16 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

There is a shortage of air transport serving the Caribbean, making travel in the region expensive owing to limited competition. It is less costly to travel to North America from Jamaica than to other areas of the Caribbean, thus restricting freedom of movement.

In Jamaica, we speak so much about Africa, yet to get there, one has to go by a costly, roundabout route that makes the trip unaffordable to most. It is good that during the recent visit to Jamaica by Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, he suggested closer links between the two countries. This raises hope that there could soon be a direct air link that would increase the opportunity to visit our motherland without needing to get that elusive visa. This could save travel time, cost and add more meaning to our history.

Similarly, Costa Rican Vice-President Epsy Campbell Barr, on a recent visit to Jamaica, expressed similar sentiments. There are many persons of Jamaican descent who are Costa Ricans. The same is true for most of the other Central American countries.

I do recall that Jamaica, not very long ago, had a direct air link with Mexico City via Mexicana Airlines. If one wants to visit Belize, a CARICOM country, one has to connect through the United States, which requires a US visa to do so.

The argument may arise that if the routes are not profitable, airlines may not want to go into these ventures, but they could start with frequent charter flights as experiments. We should remember that National Hero Marcus Garvey did have the foresight to attempt to connect our mother continent via the Black Star Line shipping company.

TREVOR SAMUELS

tasamuels@cwjamaica.com