Mitchell eyes domestic airbridge solution by October

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell at the formal opening of Comfort Inn and Suites, Scarborough, last Friday. – David Reid

Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell said a solution to the domestic airbridge is expected by October.

Tobago will be celebrating its inaugural Carnival celebrations from October 28-30. A preliminary calendar of events has already been released with approximately 30 events from September 25-October 30.

Tobago stakeholders have been clamouring for more flights to boost attendance for the festivities.

However, Caribbean Airlines has lamented the high cost of the domestic service and consistent losses. Retired director general of Civil Aviation Ramesh Lutchmedial has speculated that each flight generates a loss of $40,000 as the fee is too low.

At Friday’s formal opening ceremony for Comfort Inn and Suites, at its Skye restaurant on Orange Hill Road, Scarborough, THA Secretary of Community Development Terance Baynes said, “So much has been said about the room stock in Tobago and all the other challenges that we face – transportation wise. I remember I was talking to somebody at the airport and I was telling them if you have not slept on the airport once in your life, you have missed out on a critical part of the Tobago experience.”

Baynes said he had a brief conversation with the minister and he is hopeful that the issues would be resolved soon.

In response, Mitchell said that as the Tobago economy reopens, he is aware that discussions are under way to address the demand for domestic travel.

“I know that (Tourism) Secretary (Tashia) Burris is speaking to Caribbean Airlines along with the Chief Secretary to bring some sort of resolution to the issue in the quickest time. The airbridge now is in need of some remedy and secretary Burris along with the ministry, myself and Caribbean Airlines are in discussions. We’re hoping that we could bring those discussions quickly to a resolution.”

“We at the ministry and everyone here in Tobago – we’re all looking forward to the first Tobago Carnival.”