LIAT wet lease costs US$560,000

Caribbean Airlines (CAL) transported 8,447 passengers on the airbridge in the three-day period between last Friday and Sunday.

The airline’s Corporate Communications manager Dione Ligoure, said in that period the airline CAL 128 flights on the airbridge with 8,876 seats. However, only 8,447 of those seats were actually utilised “so there was excess capacity on the airbridge as there always is,” she said.

On Monday eight additional daily flights were added to the airbridge, bringing the number of flights offered daily to 48. The increase followed the wet lease of an ATR from Liat to boost capacity.

Ligoure said the initiative is meant to “facilitate the persons who would have been put out by the situation with the ferry” and goes until the end of April which means it will cover the Easter period and the Tobago Jazz Experience.

The cost of the wet lease arrangement with LIAT is US$560,000, Finance Minister Colm Imbert told UNC MP Roodal Moonilal in Parliament yesterday.

The wet lease arrangement accommodates 544 passengers return daily until the end of March and 680 daily up to April 30. Imbert said from March 20 to April 3, CAL will additional jet returns and three ATR flights to accommodate 716 passenger returns for Tobago’s Jazz Festival. He said CAL handled all its ferry passengers within its existing capacity.

With no vessels on the seabridge and uncertainty about the return of the T&T Spirit which has been on dry dock since last June, Ligoure said the arrangement with LIAT will reduce stress on persons wanting to get to and from Tobago.

“CAL is in the business of providing service and this is part of the movement to ensure inter-island commuters can travel between Trinidad and Tobago in a way that is not onerous,” she said.

The Port Authority said CAL ferried 175 passengers with confirmed tickets on the T&T Express in between March 17 and 20 from Port-of-Spain to Scarborough. In the same period the number of ticketed passengers ferried on the airbridge from Tobago to Trinidad was 344.

The arrangement with CAL started on March 13 and applies only to persons who purchased tickets for the T&T Express for the period March 13 to 22.

The Galleons Passage, which set sail from Yokohama Japan last Saturday, is expected to arrive in Honolulu next Saturday.