New systems in place for duty-free purchases

first_imgAfter days of unfriendly exchanges of correspondence and threats of service cancellation, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) have managed to settle a row over the dumping of duty-free purchases from Guyana at the Piarco International Airport, Trinidad.Following numerous complaints by Guyanese passengers and local duty-free concessionaires that duty-free items were being dumped while transiting in Trinidad, the Trinidad-based airline was given an ultimatum by CJIA authorities to address the situation or face cancelation of its services here.Representatives from Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Caribbean Airlines, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority and the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority following the meetingHowever, CAL responded in a statement earlier this week saying that it was complying with regulatory directives of the United States, which imposed a restriction on the entry of duty-free items in the sterile holding areas of all transit airports for flights to the US. This was put in place by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which governs the security processes and conducts audits for all carriers flying into the United States of America.However, a high-level meeting was held on Tuesday morning in Georgetown with officials from CJIA, the Chairman and Executive Management of CAL along with representatives from the Civil Aviation Authorities of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.During the meeting, detailed discussions were had following which the parties agreed on a way forward, which would allow passengers who would be in transit in Trinidad and Tobago, to recommence purchasing duty-free items in Guyana without fear of having them dumped.Effective today (Wednesday), a new system has been put in place that will see travellers now being required to place their duty-free items in their checked luggage. This procedure, however, will not apply to BW 526 flights, which operate non-stop from Georgetown to New York.According to a joint statement from CAL and CJIA, “passengers will be required to indicate their intention to purchase duty-free items at the security checkpoint at the entrance to the Airport and again at the Caribbean Airlines check-in counter before making their way to the duty-free shops.”It was further explained that once the purchases were made, the passengers would be escorted by security personnel to the baggage area in order to place the items in their checked luggage.“The process will be closely supervised by security and airport personnel and will be conducted in the full view of cameras,” the statement outlined, adding that the purchases would have to be done one hour before the scheduled departure time to ensure sufficient time for the new procedure.Following the meeting, officials from CJIA indicated that they were pleased with the outcome of discussions, which have resulted in the immediate implementation of the new procedure.“We expect that over time the process will be refined; however, the important thing is that we have found a workable solution which positively impacts travellers from Cheddi Jagan International Airport who wish to purchase duty-free items, but who must transit other airports to get to their final destination,” they stated.Caribbean Airlines Chairman Phillip Marshall stated that this issue was one of national and regional significance, adding that Guyana was an important destination for Caribbean Airlines.“We remain committed to our loyal Guyanese customers whom we have consistently served with reliable service since our start in 2007. Today’s meeting has enabled the CJIA and Caribbean Airlines to achieve a solution to this issue which ensures that Caribbean Airlines remains compliant with the TSA regulations and continues to provide quality service to our valued customers,” Marshall reaffirmed.In light of this agreement, CJIA withdrew its ultimatum issued to the airline, which is Guyana’s designated carrier for the Toronto and New York destinations, flying some 35,000 passengers annually from this nation.Moreover, the Civil Aviation Authorities of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago also reaffirmed their commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two authorities. Under the MoU, passengers originating from Guyana and connecting to other Caribbean Airlines’ services will not be re-screened at Piarco International Airport. Caribbean Airlines restrictions … following high-level meeting last_img read more