El Salvador’s Minister for Tourism has called on delegates at Routes Americas 2016 to use the event as a forum to discuss how to bring down airline ticket prices.
Speaking exclusively to Routesonline during the air service development forum in San Juan, Puerto Rico this week Jose Napoleon Duarte said airlines should start passing on significant reductions in ticket cost to consumers following the fall in the price of oil to about $30 a barrel. And he urged all sides of the industry to use the Routes events as a forum to bring the issue to a head and start discussing ways to solve it.
“Routes is the place to meet, to share and to have a conversation with the airlines about reducing costs because of the reduction in petroleum prices. There hasn’t been a reduction in (ticketing) prices following the oil price reduction and tourists and travellers are paying the same prices, or even more,” he said.
“Routes should be one of the most important places to talk about it. This could be a platform for us. The airlines can reduce the price because in 2015 they have seen a boost in profits,” he added.
Duarte noted El Salvador has seen a five percent increase in visitor numbers in 2015 after Routes Americas was hosted in San Salvador in 2014. He said much of the growth had been driven by an increase in flight numbers from both American Airlines and United Airlines in the wake of the event, but added there were still certain airlines he was keen to target.
“We have several (North American) airlines operating with us already but we really are interested in Southwest Airlines as it is a low-cost airline and we have always been interested in JetBlue because it serves the North American market and that is our target market,” he said.
“We want to send a message that El Salvador has a central strategy and it is development. We will have a big investment in infrastructure at the airport and our ports and we are trying to push into both the cruise and airline markets,” he added.