U.S. Embassy Supports Improved Regional Air Travel – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Roger Nyhus today announced that Embassy Bridgetown has formed an Aviation Working Group to support improved air travel and economic development in the region.

Ambassador Nyhus assembled the group of Embassy aviation and economic development experts following his discussions with all seven prime ministers from Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

“We envision a vibrant, interconnected Caribbean where improved air connectivity is a cornerstone for prosperity and equitable development,” Ambassador Nyhus said. “The lack of a robust and economical interisland air transportation network is impeding the economic growth and sustainability of Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. The U.S. Embassy Aviation Working Group intends to engage the best of the U.S. aviation sector by convening experts and collaborating with local partners to find tangible ways to make it easier and, hopefully, more economical, to travel by air in the region. Quality air transportation should be the expectation for all people and businesses in the region.”

Ambassador Nyhus convened a panel on “Pathways to Improving Intra-Regional Air Transport Connectivity in the Caribbean – Industry Perspectives” on May 23, during the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) global supply chain event in Bridgetown. The panel featured industry experts and other leaders from the region and aviation community who discussed key issues in enhancing regional air links in the Caribbean, including liberalizing air services agreements, private sector engagement in airline expansion, building a competitive cost environment, and addressing high taxes and fees.

He also praised the UNCTAD event as a critical platform for creating a pathway for more multi-destination, multi-country air itineraries that are crucial for the tourism and trade sectors in the Caribbean.

Launching the U.S. Embassy Aviation Working Group

Ambassador Nyhus established the U.S. Embassy Aviation Working Group after his initial discussions with prime ministers, presidents, governors general and foreign ministers for all seven Eastern Caribbean countries.

The Aviation Working Group aims to analyze longstanding challenges hindering the development of efficient and reliable air links between Eastern Caribbean countries and propose U.S. private sector solutions and initiatives to further improve and develop the Eastern Caribbean’s aviation sector.

“The UNCTAD conference was a great launchpad for the United States to bring our Aviation Working Group team together with industry leaders to talk about fostering private-sector engagement, revitalizing government participation, and removing bureaucratic barriers to regional travel.”

Ambassador Nyhus, a former consulting firm CEO who advised leading travel and tourism companies among other sectors, has 20 years of experience advising top U.S. and international airlines, including Alaska Airlines and Hainan Airlines.

SOURCE: U.S. Embassy in Barbados