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Passengers to pay a new service fee at the airports

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As of September, passengers entering or leaving Jamaican airspace will be required to pay a service fee of US$8.

The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) will be doing away with air navigation fees for aircraft which is used pay for new developments or technology.

According to Director General of the Authority, Colonel Oscar Darby who was speaking at this week's edition of the RJR Group News Forum, passengers will now have to foot the bill.

However, he stressed that the fee is minuscule, adding that based on a survey, passengers were willing to pay up to US$10 for a one way trip.

Colonel Darby says the aim is to reduce the pressure on airlines but at the same time give the Authority a revenue stream that will allow for the maintaining and upgrade of air navigational services.

“It was felt that the several million passengers passing through the airports each year it would be better to take a very small charge from those passengers of eight dollars for a round trip instead of large charges to the airline which makes it a higher operating cost for the airline and therefore a disincentive so Cabinet approved that on January 12 this year for that small charge which we are in the process of implementing now,” Colonel Darby said.

Colonel Darby added that the Chief Parliamentary Counsel is in the process of drafting regulations for the new fees to be placed in legislation.

In the meantime, the Director General of the JCAA says his agency is trying to stimulate the private aircraft industry with the removal of service charges on these aircraft.

Colonel Darby lamented that a mere 2,000 private aircraft landed in Jamaica last year compared to the Bahamas which had 45,000 aircraft arrivals.

He says the Boscobel Aerodrome in St. Mary which the government is expanding and improving will specifically accommodate private aircraft.

“That level of tourists are not interested in going destinations with those high charges, so we have had to do something about that and we hope that the trend that we have set as a CAA will be followed by the airports in reducing their charges and in particular for Boscobel where the government has sought to develop it as a third port of entry,” he said.

Work on the Boscobel aerodrome was originally set to be completed last month, however Transport Minister Mike Henry ordered a temporary shutdown due to allegations of sexual abuse of personnel on the site.

Investigations are being carried out.

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