SURINAME, still angered by the treatment of its nationals by state-owned Caribbean Airlines (CAL), has reportedly rejected the airline’s request to resume flights to the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom) country.
“Until Caribbean Airlines resolves its issues with its passengers and travel agencies, it will not receive permission to resume operations. Suriname is a country where rules apply and order prevails,” said Albert Jubithana, Minister of Transport, Communications and Tourism.
CAL announced the resumption of flights to several of its destinations since last year, has so far not yet responded to Suriname’s allegation.
Suriname said the airline, unlike others, was not dealing with passengers who were stranded here when airspace was closed to scheduled commercial flights in March 2020, as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Media reported here that since Suriname reopened its airspace and scheduled flights resumed, several international airlines have resumed operations, but Caribbean Airlines has yet to receive clearance to resume flying on the road.
“She never returned to pick up her stranded passengers. She never spoke again, not even a letter. SLM and Fly All Ways made sure those stranded could leave,” the online publication quoted Jubithana as saying, dwtonline.com.
He said CAL says it will resume flights between Zanderij and Piarco international airports on January 18.
“The company is promoting without permission from Suriname to resume flights,” Jubithana said, noting that Brazilian airline Gol had also sought to emulate the Trinidad-based carrier, after also leaving its passengers out in the cold.
The minister said that Gol “wanted to come back like this, without solving the problems he had created” and that the authorities told the Brazilian company that until there were appropriate agreements between it and the travel agents, there will be no return. in Suriname.
Jubithana said he expects the situation to be resolved as soon as the airline begins talks with the Surinamese Travel Agents Association (ASRA).
He said the Panamanian airline, Copa Airlines, had resumed flights to the Dutch-speaking country after the Association of Surinamese Travel Agents informed the government that it had no objections to the resumption of flights.
Contacted for comment on the story by the Caribbean Media Corporation, CAL spokesperson Dionne Ligoure said: “Caribbean Airlines has filed all necessary paperwork with Suriname authorities and the company is awaiting comment on this. “
She confirmed that she had seen the story from the regional news service.