WORLD ROUTES: ALPA Praises DOT Ruling on Guyana Route Applications

The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) had hailed a recent decision by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to deny applications by Caribbean Airlines and Fly Jamaica Airlines to offer direct flights from Georgetown (Guyana) to New York City. ALPA and Airlines for America (A4A) had both opposed the applications.

“We are grateful that DOT agreed with our view and denied these applications by Fly Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines,” said ALPA president, Lee Moak. “Relevant Open Skies agreements are premised on the ability of US carriers to have a ‘fair and equal opportunity’ to compete, and the proposed seventh-freedom operations would clearly impede the ability of US carriers to compete.”

In mid-July, Caribbean Airlines and Fly Jamaica Airways each applied for authority to operate seventh-freedom passenger flights between Georgetown, Guyana—which neither airline makes its home—and New York, JFK.  In its answer to the application, ALPA asserted that no compelling US public interest would be served by granting this extra-bilateral authority.

The DOT agreed with ALPA and A4A and denied Caribbean Airlines and Fly Jamaica’s applications. While these carriers can and do operate fifth-freedom services, the DOT found that the carriers had not shown that there was a “truly demonstrable need” for the proposed services, and the services therefore did not meet the department’s public interest test for extra-bilateral seventh-freedom services.