The Government of Grenada is willing to invest, if necessary, to help improve airlift to Carriacou.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr the Right Honorable Keith Mitchell is reassuring the people of Carriacou that government will do everything within its power to provide better options for travel between the two islands.
Providing an update on the planned operation of a 19-seater Twin-Otter aircraft which should have commenced service in mid-August, Dr Mitchell said, the engine of the aircraft has to be upgraded.
He was speaking to members of the business community and professionals at a special forum held in Hillsborough last Friday, and later reinforced the points in an interview with the Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs.
Dr Mitchell said, “The investor who indicated his interest in servicing the islands, has already acquired the 19-seater aircraft. Following the assessment required for certification, he was informed that the engines had to be replaced, to meet international aviation standards. Now the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority is responsible for the certification of aircraft and we must abide by their guidance; they are the experts.”
Adding further clarity on the status of the planned service, Dr Mitchell said, “We are therefore at the point where the investor must purchase new engines for the aircraft. He may have some financial challenges doing so and I have communicated to the Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, that if the need arises, government will make a contribution to help with the acquisition of new engines. Our interest is in providing a much-needed improved service for the people of Carriacou and our position demonstrates government’s commitment towards the tourism sector on the sister island.”
The Prime Minister further stated, “As a government, we believe that whatever is happening on mainland Grenada should be happening in Carriacou and Petite Martinique as well. This is why we are going to ensure that the operation of the bigger aircraft does in fact come to fruition.”
In related news, the Prime Minister has also given assurance that a new airport for Carriacou remains a long-term development plan but in the meantime, government is forging ahead with plans to extend the runway at the Lauriston Airport. This will enable the airport to accommodate 72-seater aircraft, something which is anticipated will boost travel activities to and from the island.
Dr Mitchell noted that with the operation of the Tyrell Bay Marina Project, Carriacou and Petite Martinique are already experiencing an increased number of visitors and people with resources which he believes will lead to major opportunities in the hotel and services sectors.
“With the expansion and further upgrade of the Lauriston Airport and the development of the Levera Project which will have implications in Carriacou and Petite Martinique, there will be further opportunities for the tourism sector to grow. The real task is for the people of Carriacou and Petite Martinique to be prepared appropriately for these developments,” the Prime Minister stated.
He also noted that training in the area of hospitality arts is a major priority area for Carriacou and Petite Martinique, in a bid to ensure that we improve the quality services offered on the islands.
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