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Travellers Asked to Be Patient As Government Works out Airline Support Agreements

The Government of Montserrat on Monday asked travellers who wish to benefit from the airfare subsidy to be patient as the matter is a complex one.

In a press release, the Government stated it approved an extension to the airline ticket subsidy for a three-month period, effective April 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021. This was agreed in March 2021 and subsequently approved by Cabinet on April 1, 2021.

“However, the Access Division, Office of the Premier has stated that one Airline has indicated that there will be more support required to maintain regular access, as the airline is of the view that the ticket subsidy effectively benefits only the customer,” the release said.

The airline in question is FlyMontserrat, which wants a seat guarantee as was given to them in the past.

The release revealed that under the COVID-19 Relief Support, both airlines had been granted operational support from April 2020 to March 2021. This was in addition to the “regular XCD$18,000 monthly support which was increased from April to September 2020,” the Access Division confirmed.

“From October 2020, the additional support provided to each airline over and above the $18,000 monthly subsidy ceased given the budgetary constraints, and with the exhaustion of the EC$8.6 million in COVID-19 Support that was provided to the Government of Montserrat.

“Customers affected by the delayed implementation of the subsidy are asked to be patient, considering the complexities of such arrangements,” said the release.

As of April 1, 2021 air fares on FlyMontserrat did not include the XCD 300 per person, cost that the Government of Montserrat paid from October 2020 when the ferry service ended.