Suriname has given the go ahead for the Trinidad-based state-owned Caribbean Airlines to resume operations here following a meeting between top officials of the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Tourism (TCT), the Association of Surinamese Travel Agents (ASRA) and CAL.
“Permission has indeed been granted, but in the meantime a resolution must be worked on,” said Transport Minister, Albert Jubithana.
Last week, Suriname, still peeved at the treatment meted out to its nationals by Caribbean Airlines, denied the airline’s request to resume flights to the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
“As long as Caribbean Airlines does not fix its issues with its passengers and the travel agencies, it will not receive permission from me to resume operation. Suriname is a country where rules apply and order prevails,” Jubithana said then.
Suriname said that the airline, unlike others, did not look after it passengers who were stranded here when the airspace was closed to regular commercial flights in March 2020 as part of the measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Media reports here said that since Suriname reopened its airspace and regular flights have resumed, several international airlines have resumed their operations except Caribbean Airlines.
“The pandemic has affected all airlines, but I have put the interests of passengers first from the start,” Jubithana said, adding that he has now given Caribbean Airlines permission on the condition that the airline resolves outstanding problems with local partners, including ASRA.
“Facts must be distinguished from opinions. I have simply applied the principle of equality on all three airlines that have left passengers here. No one gets preferential treatment,” said Jubithana.
Last week, Trinidad and Tobago CARICOM and Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Amery Browne, and the Trade and Industry Minister, Paula Gopee-Scoon said relations between the two CARICOM countries remain strong and that there was no reason to suggest otherwise.
Browne had indicated that the CAL issue had been raised with his Suriname counterpart, Albert Ramdin.