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Sealy clears the air

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Sealy clears the air

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?MINISTER OF TOURISM Richard Sealy yesterday sought to respond to what he calls bits of misinformation that have been going around concerning Gol Airlines.
Likening the situation to the game Chinese Whispers, Sealy said that during the course of the Estimates debate the Barbados Government was accused of paying the Brazilian carrier Gol Airlines US$200 000 in the month of January.
“I refuted that during the course of the debate as being totally false and I stand by that assertion.  
“I am forced to come public because it has now gone on to the Upper Chamber, and [on Monday] an outrageous claim was made that we have been paying Gol in the vicinity of $140 000 per flight to come to Barbados”, he said.
Though the minister did not specify which currency was being referred to, he stated: “It is simply not true”.
Sealy said the Government had a revenue guarantee arrangement with Gol Airlines in the same way it had arrangements in place with other airlines, as has been the practice of Government for many years.
“While stating that he could not be lectured by the Barbados Labour Party on this matter, Sealy added that the situation of Air India receiving US$300 000 to fly one flight to Barbados and never coming back again was not occurring, nor the $10 million fiasco involving Carnival Destiny that the current Government still had to pay for every year.
He called Government’s investment in Gol an extremely promising one that, though at a developmental stage, was yielding results.
Sealy said the last flight that arrived on Saturday had 97 passengers and the flight prior to that had 147.  
“[In] March, which started a bit slow, we had two good services . . . We had an excellent December and January, [and] February was not too bad – many of those flights actually were full.”
The minister said the relationship was being looked at in terms of the rate of return on the investment (ROI). Stating that the regular ROI was seven, he said the ROI on WestJet was around 13 to one, on JetBlue 23 to one and on Gol 7 to 1.   (LK)