Caricom Multilateral Air Services Agreement (Masa)

St. Vincent and the Grenadines signed the new CARICOM (MASA) multilateral air services agreement at the 29th INTERsessional meeting of CARICOM heads of government at the Marriot Hotel Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Tuesday. The agreement expands the ability of airlines owned by caricom nationals to offer air services throughout the Community. It does not limit roads, capacity or… The agreement will therefore allow airlines in the region to operate both passengers and freight on and off the railways. CARICOM`s multilateral air transport agreement expands the flexibility of airlines owned by The Caricom States to offer air services throughout the Community. It does not limit routes, capacity or traffic rights, and should facilitate the strengthening of intra-regional traffic and provide exporters and importers with more freight options, resulting in cost savings. With regard to shipping, the leaders agreed to create a joint private and public sector team to “verify the results and recommendations of reports on a regional ferry-boat service. The team was asked to provide preliminary estimates for the introduction of ferry services after discussions and discussions with potential ferry operators. The regional MASA will allow each caricom Member State to move passengers and cargo by air without having to charge individual transport fees.

Following a communiqué issued at the end of the 30th intersessional meeting of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Heads of State and Government met “at a special session on transport, in line with their commitment to providing adequate, equitable, competitive and efficient transport services at affordable costs.” Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley signed the agreement on Wednesday on the second and final day of the 30th CARICOM Intersessional Heads of Government Meeting in St. Christopher and Nevis. It was found that MASA had been opened for signature in February 2018. The Heads of State and Government acknowledged that the agreement of all Member States on MASA would have the effect of making the Community a liberalised environment for caricom carriers. Several CARICOM member states, including Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, have signed the Multilateral Air Services Agreement (MASA), which aims to expand the air traffic offer for Caricom-owned airlines for the provision of air services throughout the Community. The Memorandum of Understanding on the Provisional Implementation of the Multilateral Air Transport Agreement was signed by Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. In addition, this agreement will allow Jamaica to show greater flexibility in negotiating air agreements with other blocs. The historic signing took place at the 30th intersessional meeting of the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government on Wednesday, February 27, in Basseterre St. Kitts. The heads of government also agreed that Member States should “review their internal and other aviation-related taxes in order to streamline relevant tax structures, as the Member States` finance ministries consider appropriate.” Member States that had not signed and ratified the agreement were invited to do so.

Nine countries have now signed MASA, which allows provisional application. Heads of state or government also agreed that the directors of maritime affairs in each Member State should “meet periodically with the intention of coordinating and presenting a comprehensive approach to dealing with maritime security issues in the Community.” Leaders also agreed to restructure the Regional Transport Commission (RTRC) and its programmes to allow for greater efficiency.

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