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May 20, 2015

Government Implements New Small Carrier Fees

Effective June first, commuters using Tropic Air or Maya Island Air will pay six dollars more per departure on domestic flights. It’s something called a Rider Fee, and was conceptualized years ago to pay for the massive upgrading works being done at the Municipal Airstrip in Belize City. It’ll affect both major carriers; Tropic Air President John Grief told News Five that it was something that the government decided, and they reluctantly agreed.

 

John Grief III, President, Tropic Air

John Grief III

“They said flat out that they can’t afford to do it with the current tax base, so the industry actually suggested a small rider fee per passenger per departure to help defray the cost, if not totally cover the cost of the development of the municipal airstrip. This was agreed too years ago it was implemented years ago; the fee was being contemplated like I said for every departure, the way it was actually implemented was per ticket. So if you buy a round trip ticket to San Pedro to Municipal back to San Pedro, that’s one rider fee where it should be two when it is two departures, you depart from san Pedro as well as Municipal. The government left it the way it was thinking that it might be enough but days went by, years went by and things got more expensive and the scope of the project increased as it probably needed to and the proper implementation of the fee had to be done as it was originally contemplated. So essentially that is what we got, implementing the fee the way it was envision in the first place to pay off the amount of investment that the government had to put in over a reasonable time which I believe is ten years and I believe the money came from Social Security. So we are not happy by the fact that our customers have to pay more because they see a sixty-five dollar ticket instead of a sixty dollar ticket and they don’t know where they money is going, they just know they have to pay that out. So it decrease our ridership because a few people say that is too much, am gonna catch the bus, catch the boast, whatever. On the other hand we see the need for the municipal airport to be upgraded, so it’s a balance.

 

Mike Rudon

“Could you speak to us a little more about the impact? Any long term impact, maybe on tourist?

 

John Grief III

“Surprisingly we thing the long term impact is good because the facility will be something like when you just landed here in San Pedro. You will have a long, wide, lit runway that is capable of handling the aircraft that comes in and out of it with plenty of safety margin. So you mentioned tourist, they are use to paying these fees, I did a trip from Belize to Houston and it was I think thirty-five U.S. I don’t know where they went but I paid thirty-five US when I left Belize and I paid sixty-five US when I left Houston so the foreign traveller is use to paying these fees so it will have no impact on that and like I said I think the safety and the perception of the increase for our domestic passengers so long term it will be a good thing.”

 

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