Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett, says Jamaica is actively exploring additional air connectivity options out of Europe, in light of the United Kingdom (UK) leaving the European Union – which is more popularly known as Brexit. The decision for the UK to leave the European Union (EU) was made in 2016 through a referendum.
Minister Bartlett made the announcement following a meeting yesterday with several key representatives of the EU to Jamaica yesterday at his New Kingston office. The countries represented were Germany, Spain, France and Belgium.
“We are taking a proactive step to ensure that air connectivity between Jamaica and Europe remains robust and consistent given the possibility that our current main gateway from that area – the United Kingdom – may leave the European Union.
eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us)
England’s departure from the EU will impact not just Jamaica but the region and so these discussions are timely and critical,” said Minister Bartlett.
On average, Jamaica welcomes over 300 thousand European visitors annually. Last year, 328 thousand Europeans visited the island.
High on the list of topics discussed was the need for a market analysis, including stopovers from low cost European airlines and main market for European visitors to Jamaica, to inform the possibility of an EU Air Services Agreement. It was also noted that there was precedent for such an agreement, specifically the 2007 USA/EU Air Transport Agreement.
Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, who lead discussions on behalf of the EU representatives, noted that, “The United Kingdom has been the historical and traditional door to Europe for Jamaica and with Brexit most likely to take place, there is interest in strengthening relations with Jamaica and the remaining 27 EU Member States to better engage the markets and people of those countries.”
Ambassador Wasilewska also noted that she would seek further information on a framework within which a collective air services agreement could be pursued by early September.
Minister Bartlett also said, “We will continue bilateral negotiations with individual EU Member States for increased air connectivity between Europe and Jamaica which will include discussions with large carriers from Europe to bridge gaps between the commercial interests, including code sharing arrangements.”