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Suriname not ready to welcome back CAL

Suriname not ready to welcome back CAL
Caribbean Airlines received U.S. $100 million in funding support from the Trinidad & Tobago government. (File)

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PARAMARIBO –Suriname, still peeved at the treatment meted out to its nationals by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines (CAL), is reported to have 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,” said Albert Jubithana, the Minister of Transport, Communication and Tourism.

CAL, which late last year, has been announcing the resumption of flights to several of its destinations, has so far not yet responded to the allegation by Suriname.

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) pandemic.

Media reports here said that since Suriname re-opened its airspace and regular flights have resumed, several international airlines have resumed their operations, but that Caribbean Airlines has not yet received permission to resume flying the route.

“She never came back to pick up her stranded passengers. She never spoke again, not even a letter. SLM and Fly All Ways made sure that the stranded people could leave,” Jubithana, was quoted as saying by the online publication, dwtonline.com

He said that the airline is indicating that it will resume flights between the Zanderij and Piarco International airports January 18.

“The company is promoting without Suriname’s permission to resume flights,” said Jubithana, noting that the Brazilian airline, Gol had also sought to emulate the Trinidad-based carrier, after leaving its passengers also in the cold.

The Minister said Gol “wanted to return just like that, without solving the problems it had created” and that the authorities have told the Brazilian company that as long as there are no proper agreements between it and the travel agents, there will be no return to Suriname.

Jubithana said he expects the situation to be resolved soon as the airline has started talks with the Association of Surinamese Travel Agents (ASRA).

He said the Panamanian airline, Copa Airlines, as resumed flight to the Dutch country after the Association of Surinamese Travel Agents had informed the government that it has no objection to the resumption of the flights. (CMC)