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    October 20

  • 10:30 PM

Govt defends departure tax

BEA DOTTIN, beadottin@nationnews.com

Added 21 October 2011

grantleyadamsintlairport

The Barbados government has defended the US$31.50 departure tax at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), saying it still among the lowest when compared to the fees charged by other Caribbean countries. “The facilities in the various airports across the region have to be maintained and managed. That is a cost we have to pass on to persons using the airport facilities,” said International Business and International Transport Minister George Hutson. “The charges that we (Barbados) have for passengers transiting Barbados, in and out of the Grantley Adams International Airport, are some of the lowest within the Caribbean region,” he added. Figures released here show that St. Croix ranks the lowest, with a charge of USD$9.50 while St. Lucia ranks as the most expensive with a charge of USD$70.19. Huston spoke to journalists as the US-based Boeing company was using the GAIA to test flight its newest and most fuel efficient commercial airliner, the B787-8 Dreamliner in Barbados. As part of the Function and Reliability certification required from the U.S. Federation Aviation Authority (FAA), the aircraft must conduct Extended Twin Operations (ETOPS) testing which requires a hot and humid environment. While Barbados was chosen primarily for its climatic conditions, Hutson explained, “that it was selected from among a number of airports within the tropical zone.” GAIA chairman, Terrance Mahon, said was chosen because Boing “needed an airport that is sophisticated enough to handle the turnaround times". “It also speaks to the level of ground handling that we have at Grantley Adams International Airport, since all of those things had to be taken into consideration.” (CMC)

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