Officials of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, the Chairman and Executive Management of Caribbean Airlines (CAL) and representatives from the Civil Aviation Authorities of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago met in Guyana today to explore solutions to the issue currently affecting transit passengers who purchase duty free.
The duty free issue arose as Caribbean Airlines is an international air carrier, and must comply with all regulatory directives of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which governs the security processes and conducts audits for all carriers flying into the United States of America.
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 22.
A statement this afternoon from Dionne Ligoure, CAL’s Head of Corporate Communications, said travellers through a secure process will now be allowed to place their duty free items into their checked luggage.
Ligoure said this procedure will NOT apply to BW 526, which operates non-stop Georgetown to New York. 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: “We 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 travellers from Cheddi Jagan International Airport who wish to purchase duty free items, but who must transit other airports to get to their final destination.”
Phillip Marshall, Chairman of Caribbean Airlines stated: “This 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.”
Following upon the successful resolution of the duty free issue, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation (CJIAC) 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 Piarco International Airport.
CAL was given an ultimatum of 21 days to restore an agreement it had entered with CJIAC with regard to passengers who purchase at the Duty Free Shop in Guyana or have its flights to Guyana discontinued.
This decision was made by management of CJIAC on Thursday last after the Trinidad-based airline failed to honour an agreement made at a previous meeting, which stated that airline passengers would be allowed to travel to their final destinations with their purchases from the Timehri Airport’s Duty Free Shop.