Exotic allure of eastern Caribbean beckons for UAE air passengers

UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority inks 'Open Skies' agreement with Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines to spur routes between this country and the Caribbean.
A vendor displays a collection of clothing on a beach in St John's, Antigua and Barbuda. The UAE has signed an Open Skies agreement with the east Caribbean islands. Jewel Samad / AFP
A vendor displays a collection of clothing on a beach in St John's, Antigua and Barbuda. The UAE has signed an Open Skies agreement with the east Caribbean islands. Jewel Samad / AFP

The country’s airlines will soon be able to whisk travellers seeking an exotic alternative to the beaches of Europe and Asia over the seas to the tropical island idylls of Antigua and its neighbours.

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has signed an open skies agreement with the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The agreements that were signed allow full flexibility on the routes, capacity, number of frequencies and types of aircraft, in any type of service, passenger or cargo. It also includes the exercise of “fifth freedom traffic rights”.

The fifth freedom allows an airline to carry revenue traffic between foreign countries as a part of services connecting the airline’s own country. It is the right to carry passengers from one’s own country to a second country, and from that country to a third country and so on.

The GCAA has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) in Antigua and Barbuda.

The agreement is the fourth such regional MoU under which the GCAA provides training, including internships, which are beneficial for the global air transport industry.

“In every world economy, the air transport sector is a major contributor to economic growth, and the nature of the governance of this sector determines its success,” said Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, the GCAA director general. “Consequently, the UAE has taken vital steps to ensure that the governance of air transport facilitates, both the operations of UAE airlines and the airlines of its bilateral partners, and hence the growth and development of air transport services.”

In this regard, the UAE made significant progress in 2015, undertaking the final signature of 16 air services agreements (ASAs), holding 48 bilateral ASA negotiations and signing 27 MoUs.

The UAE has also finalised agreements with 171 countries paving the way for both its airlines and the airlines of its bilateral partners to expand their operations.

The Emirates has 135 “open sky” or fully liberal agreements in place, which are designed to liberalise the flow of air traffic to and from partner countries and beyond. The country has the second-highest number of open skies agreements in the world, behind the United States.

“The UAE GCAA continues to take vital steps to ensure cooperation, growth and development of air transport services worldwide through liberal agreements,” said Laila Ali Bin Hareb Al Muhairi, the GCAA assistant director general of strategy and international affairs. “The result will be enhancement in tourism, trade, investment and strengthened business ties.”

business@thenational.ae

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Published: September 5, 2016 04:00 AM

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