By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
TAXES and fees account for up to 50 percent of airline ticket costs in the Caribbean, it was revealed yesterday, with Bahamasair's top executive admitting these levies sometimes exceeded airline ticket revenue.
Tracy Cooper, pictured, the national flag carrier's managing director, agreed with comments made by Diane Shurland, Antigua-based legal counsel for fellow regional airline, LIAT, during a panel discussion at the State of the Industry Tourism Conference (SOITC).
Ms Shurland stated: "It is near impossible to encourage people to travel and support the tourism industry if you have growing taxes, fees and charges. It is near 50 percent of your ticket costs. Look at the description of your charges and judge for yourself. It makes the industry extremely difficult."
Responding to that point, Mr Cooper said: "At Bahamasair our ticket prices to Miami and Fort Lauderdale are around $300-$350, and out of that $152 is taxes. In some instances, if we are having promotions it's not even a 50/50 thing. We are not actually pairing the price of the ticket or the revenue that comes to Bahamasair; it is actually less than the tax on the ticket."
To further underscore the point on affordability and access, Mr Cooper said that to get from Nassau to Miami a passenger would pay more than flying from Miami to Las Vegas.
"If you were to compare apples to apples and remove the taxes, then my $150-$180 would beat that airfare to Las Vegas any day of the week," said Mr Cooper.