A comprehensive study on air travel in Guyana by the Competition and Consumers Affairs Commission of Guyana has revealed what many Guyanese travelers have been complaining about for years, – that they have found themselves paying too much to travel on Caribbean Airlines from Guyana.
The study found that while Caribbean Airlines enjoyed a monopoly type situation on the Georgetown-New York route, it’s pricing remained high even while being in control of 59% of the market overall.
The Competition and Consumers Affairs Commission believes that through a conservation breakeven price, the airline could have been charging a Georgetown-New York one-way fare of around US$173 without taxes and a return fare on the same route at around US$346 without taxes.
That price is based on the airline enjoying a 78% seat capacity.
The Commission said it recognizes that there is a need for one other competitor flying the GEO-JFK route in order for consumers to derive tangible benefits not only in price but other non-price services.
Since the report was compiled, American Airlines has started its operations on the Georgetown – New York route and Jet Blue is set to begin its service on the same route in April, 2020.
The influx of competitors looking to service routes out of Guyana is expected to see fierce price and nonprice competition for routes where there are two or more competing players, the Commission’s report noted.
The Commission is of the view that a state-owned airline could result in Guyanese passengers getting better prices. According to the Consumers Affairs body, while the venture could be prone to the ills of state-sponsored enterprise, if managed properly, it could result in competition pressure for those already on the market to perform better.
“The government could lease the airplane for a five-year probational period and service only the most traversed routes. After the probation period the venture could be assessed and if is proved that is was successful, if there are other competitors the company can then exit the market”, the Commission recommends.
It noted that while Guyana will be looking at various areas to invest oil revenue, it might do well for an investment to be made in the country owning a national airline.
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