Caribbean Airlines will have provided over 16,000 seats to the travelling public using the air bridge between Trinidad and Tobago by the time the Easter holidays are over.
The long weekend is the busiest travel period to Tobago as thousands of visitors from Trinidad as well as foreigners visit the sister isle.
The increase in seats on the air bridge is to assist the seabridge which has been experiencing a number of problems over the past few months, especially following the cancellation of the contract of the Super Fast Galicia which serviced the islands one year ago.
Passengers using the ferry service have complained of no end of difficulties in getting to and from Trinidad to Tobago over the past few months. The business sector in Tobago has been particularly hard hit and has complained of hundreds of millions of dollars in losses due to the unavailability of vessels to transport supplies which in turn have resulted in shortages.
Only on Tuesday, the Trini Flash caught fire on the north coast off Trinidad on its return from Scarborough. Over 60 passengers had to be rescued by the Cabo Star which was on its way to Tobago.
There were long lines and crowded counters at the domestic terminal at Piarco International Airport yesterday, as passengers waited for flights to Tobago.
Head of corporate communications at Caribbean Airlines Dionne Ligoure in a media statement yesterday stated the airline’s “domestic operations have been enhanced to support the number of passengers affected by the disruption of the ferry service as well as the expected travellers for the Easter holiday weekend.”
She presented a schedule of the airline’s operations between Trinidad and Tobago for the period March 29-April 2 and assured that Caribbean Airlines will continue to operate its core schedule in tandem with additional services to facilitate seamless travel between the two islands.
Ligoure further stated that the “Port Authority and the airline are collaborating to ensure that persons holding confirmed ferry tickets are accommodated on Caribbean Airlines services.”
She stated that Port Authority representatives will be stationed at Piarco International Airport and ANR Robinson International Airport, Tobago to assist customers and issued a list of instructions to passengers.
She reminded customers that there is a process in place to accommodate passengers holding confirmed ferry tickets.
• Travelers with confirmed ferry tickets and no vehicles, may go directly to the airports and present their tickets for possible acceptance for travel on Caribbean Airlines
• Persons will only be placed on flights for the specific date listed on their confirmed ferry ticket
• Passengers with confirmed ferry tickets and vehicles must first check in at the ports and after check-in will be shuttled via PTSC to the Piarco International Airport and the ANR International Airport, at no additional cost.
• If persons wish to travel on a date that is different to the date on their confirmed ferry ticket, they must purchase a new ticket on Caribbean Airlines.
Meanwhile the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT) is advising the travelling public that the water taxi will be available to transport passengers to/from Tobago until Tuesday.
Tickets for the water taxi will be available at the Port of Spain and Scarborough terminals and at the authorised travel agencies. All costs and regulations pertaining to the inter-island operations will apply. PATT stated that the sailing times from Port of Spain is 6 am and 4 pm from Tobago.
PATT also advised passengers that the water taxi does not carry vehicles. It said however that passengers who are purchasing tickets for the water taxi and may wish to place their vehicle on the MV Cabo Star will be able to purchase a ticket for their vehicle. Passengers with vehicles must check in at the ferry terminal and their vehicles will be transported on the MV Cabo Star. PATT is also advising that during the period Tuesday 27 to April 3 passengers with confirmed tickets for the 2 pm sailing of the T&T Express can use their tickets on the water taxi.
PATT also provided an update on the MV Galleons Passage the new ferry which was purchased in China stating it had completed its 3,350 nautical mile journey to Honolulu, Hawaii, where it arrived on Friday. During its layover in Honolulu, the vessel will undertake bunkering. The M V Galleons Passage will continue its journey to Acapulco, Mexico on Monday where it will again undertake bunkering. Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the vessel is expected in Trinidad by mid-April.