Caribbean Airlines (CAL) and the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago are promising passengers on the country’s inter-island routes more reliable services by both air and sea.
Both bodies met with the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), separately, at the Administrative Complex in Calder Hall, Tobago on Tuesday (July 14, 2015) at the request of Chief Secretary Orville London.
After meeting with THA officials, CAL CEO Michael DiLollo stated that the airline is providing 218,000 seats on the air bridge in July and August, an increase of 31,000 seats over the same period last year.
DiLollo promised significant improvement in real time management of seat inventory once the airline migrates to the new Amadeus Passenger Service System in November, 2015.
“The new system will allow for more access by passengers to available seats and much more efficient inventory display and accessibility to the travelling public,” he said.
The meeting also focused on deepening the cooperation between the THA and the airline to solve issues on the domestic air bridge. This will be done by reinvigorating the task force set up by the bodies last year for the same purpose, which has only met once since then.
DiLollo said over the past year CAL has been actively working to resolve some of the air bridge issues.
He stressed: “We take it at heart that with over one million passengers annually the air bridge is a major part of our activity. We cannot overemphasise our commitment to this very important, essential service between Trinidad and Tobago.”
A joint study, DiLollo revealed, will be undertaken to identify the latent demand for air services between Trinidad and Tobago.
Caribbean Airlines will also meet with the Port Authority on Monday to start talks on potential integrated solutions for the air and sea bridges.
Four hours after the CAL meeting a THA team led by London met with the Chairman of the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT) Suruj Gangapersad and senior executives to discuss the operations of the seabridge.
Gangapersad led a team that met with the THA. He announced that the T&T Spirit will return to service this weekend after being dry docked for repairs and maintenance. Since last week, the T&T Express has been providing double sailings to facilitate an increase in passengers on the sea bridge.
And according to Leon Grant, the acting CEO of the T&T Inter Island Transportation Company Limited, a subsidiary of PATT, the interior of the T&T Spirit (seating and floors) will be refurbished by the end of September. The 900 seats, which cost US$1,000 each, will arrive in T&T in mid-September.
Ferry passengers will also be able to purchase tickets online by August.
Secretary of Tourism and Transportation, Assemblyman Tracy Davidson, attended the CAL meeting. She said the Assembly was very confident that there is a demand for travel between Trinidad and Tobago and hopes to see improved travel between the islands “within the shortest possible timeframe”.
Chief Secretary London is also giving the assurance that the THA will monitor the travel service from both entities to ensure inter-island travel improves.
He said he is “heartened” by the decision of the Port Authority and CAL to collaborate, along with the Assembly, to improve Trinidad and Tobago’s inter-island travel.
“I think we recognise that there has to be synergy between the two providers if we’re not to have a repetition of some of the embarrassing situations that have arisen in the past,” London said. “It’s very comforting to know that there is going to be this consistent collaboration between the two providers starting next Monday and continuing.”
London revealed that not all of the issues discussed during the meetings have been resolved. Still, he is hopeful that the travel officials will follow through with their commitments.