Following a threat by Guyana’s Cheddi Jagan International Airport to revoke the carrier agreement with Caribbean Airlines over the dumping of Guyana duty free purchases in Trinidad, the airline has reached an agreement with the Airport.
The agreement will now allow passengers to place their duty free purchases in their checked baggages under security supervision before boarding.
Passengers and Duty Free Concessionnaires at the Cheddi Jagan Airport had complained about their duty free purchases being taken away and dumped during their in-transit in Trinidad and Tobago.
The passengers would complain that once they disembark the aircraft in Trinidad to board their connecting flight, their duty free purchases would be taken away.
In an effort to address the issue, the Cheddi Jagan Airport had proposed setting up a sterilized and secured area for the passengers to place their duty free liquor in their checked bags since that ensured the purchases remained intact.
Caribbean Airlines had objected to that move but following a 21-day ultimatum issued by the Cheddi Jagan Airport to the airline to find a solution or face its service being yanked from the airport, Caribbean Airlines descended and welcomed the proposal from the airport.
Officials of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, the Chairman and Executive Management of Caribbean Airlines and representatives from the Civil Aviation Authorities of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago met earlier today here in Guyana and explored solutions to the issue.
“After detailed discussions to ensure the interests of all stakeholders are met, the teams agreed on a way forward, which would enable transit passengers to once again purchase duty free items, effective Wednesday June 22nd”, the Cheddi Jagan Airport and the Airline said in a joint statement.
The statement confirmed that travelers through a secure process will now be allowed to place their duty free items into their checked luggage, but the procedure will not apply to the BW526 flight which is a non-stop Georgetown to New York service.
The details of the process are as follows:
Passengers will be required to indicate their intention to purchase duty free items at the security checkpoint at the entrance to the airport and again at the Caribbean Airlines check-in counter before making their way to the duty-free shops
‘ Once the purchases are made, the purchaser will be escorted by security personnel to the baggage area in order to place the items in their checked luggage
The process will be closely supervised by security and airport personnel and will be conducted in the full view of cameras.
Duty free purchases will need to be completed one (1) hour before scheduled departure to ensure sufficient time for the new procedure.
Officials from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport indicated they “are very pleased with the outcome of today’s meeting, which has resulted in the immediate implementation of a new procedure. We expect that over time the process will be refined, however, the important thing is that we have found a workable solution which positively impacts travelers from Cheddi Jagan International Airport who wish to purchase duty free items, but who must transit other airports to get to their final destination.”
The Chairman of Caribbean Airlines, Phillip Marshall said the issue is one of national and regional significance and Guyana is an important destination for Caribbean Airlines.
“We remain committed to our loyal Guyanese customers whom we have consistently served with reliable service since our start in 2007. Today’s meeting has enabled the CJIA and Caribbean Airlines to achieve a solution to this issue which ensures that Caribbean Airlines remains compliant with the TSA regulations and continues to provide quality service to our valued customers”, he added.
Following the resolution of the duty free issue, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation (CJIA) has officially withdrawn the warning issued to Caribbean Airlines, to cancel the Air Carrier Agreement, if the airline failed to comply with the procedure proposed by the CJIA.
The Civil Aviation Authorities of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago also re-affirmed their commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two authorities.
Under the MOU, passengers originating from Guyana and connecting on other Caribbean Airlines’ services will not be re-screened at Trinidad’s Piarco International Airport.