Ja set to sign seven new ‘open skies’ agreements

KINGSTON, Jamaica: Jamaica is set to sign at least seven new open skies agreements with as many countries, in a matter of weeks.

The deals will be signed at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Conference for Air Service Negotiations (ICAN), scheduled for June 27 to July 2 in Montego Bay. The conference is expected to open the door for approximately 20 more contracts as officials from more than 40 states are expected to be in attendance.

Speaking at the launch of ICAN 2010 last week, Director of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority, Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Derby, said Jamaica is set to benefit tremendously under the new agreements.

Derby noted that the increased airflows of foreign carriers are expected to generate more jobs, as well as wealth in the economy. As a result, he said, Jamaica would seek to explore the possibility of entering open skies agreements with as many states as possible.

“Jamaica’s involvement in ICAN comes at a crucial time, as the government is shifting its focus to a more liberalized approach to air transport, by adopting an open skies policy that provides for the interest of the passengers and the economy, while the interest of the airlines and airports are assured within the framework of a more competitive market driven regime,” Derby said.

Derby noted that air commerce was a significant driver of the economy and an open skies policy was an important strategy to increase air commerce.

“While Jamaica may not have the capacity to take advantage of the reciprocity allowed under these agreements at this time, the opportunities will be created for potential investors who wish to establish airlines and other air commerce activities in the future.”

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