Trinidad-Based Airline Could Become St. Lucia’s National Carrier

CASTRIES, St. Lucia – St. Lucia is moving to have the Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines (CAL) as its national carrier, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has said.

Speaking at a news conference on the state-owned National Television Network (NTN) on Monday night, Chastanet said that having CAL serve as the national carrier may be the best option for the island given the many issues facing air transport in the region.

“This means that Caribbean Airlines would now be able to fly between St. Lucia and Barbados and Trinidad and even go to Puerto Rico and other places,” he told reporters.

The former tourism minister, a critic of the Antigua-based regional airline LIAT, reiterated early statements that the airline, whose major shareholders are the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, cannot solve all of the transportation needs of the region.

He said Castries would not provide any financial assistance to the cash-strapped airline until it is restructured.

Prime Minister Chastanet was also critical of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) saying that it has been reluctant to allow other airlines to operate within the sub-region.

 “I am convinced that ECCAA cannot be fixed,” Chastanet told television viewers, adding that he would like to move St. Lucia from the Antigua-based ECCAA that was established in 2003.

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