Three regional carriers have launched an integrated travel project that will significantly reduce the cost of travel within the English, Dutch, and French-speaking Caribbean.

The Antigua-based regional airline, LIAT, has joined the French owned Air Antilles and the state-owned St. Maarten-based Winair in the Caribsky project, funded by INTERREG, an European Union initiative that they hope should “ultimately foster free movement of persons and boost economic growth” across the English, Dutch and French Caribbean, “based on a brand new network of truly interconnected airlines”.

Air Antilles chief executive officer, Serge Tsygalnitzky, speaking at the launch of the project on Tuesday, said that under the programme, a traveler would be able to purchase a single ticket and travel on any of the three airlines to 32 destinations across the region.

He said the passenger benefits include more direct flights, increased connections, increased frequency of flights, lower fares, flexibility at airports, including not having to retrieve luggage while in transit and a future common loyalty programme.

Under the Caribsky initiative, the three airlines will have a combined fleet of 25 aircraft and the capacity to move 1.4 million passengers through 70,000 flights annually. The staff complement will be 1,100 and there will be five hubs across the region.

LIAT’s chief executive officer Julie Reifer-Jones said inter-regional travel was declining and it was hoped that CaribSKY will make it easier for passengers to move through the English, French, Spanish and Dutch-speaking territories.

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