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Dear Editor: I read with interest a news item as captioned recently ‘Solutions to high regional fares’ and questioned to what end such a summit can produce any real results.
The simple but plain truth is that the taxes attached to the tickets by the respective governments are the primary result of there being high airfares.
Interestingly, in some cases, the total tax is even higher than the base fare. To show my point, a return ticket from Antigua to St Lucia for the upcoming Christmas is currently pricing at US $482.49. Take the St Lucia to Antigua leg for instance, the base fare is US $134 but the total tax is US $140.72.
A detailed breakdown of the this component shows passengers are paying a sales tax of US $13.40, passenger facility charge – US $25, airport development tax – US $9.82, Airport Authority taxes – US $40, airport passenger taxes – US $35, and a fuel surcharge US – $17.50. Whereas the Antigua to St Lucia leg does not attract as much in taxes, the departure tax component is higher.
For all intents and purposes, if we are indeed serious about making air travel within the region cheaper, then the governments are the ones who have to make the harsh decision as to whether they are willing to forego some of the associated tax revenues.
Given the current state of the region’s economies, this will be a bitter pill to swallow.