ST. LUCIA has agreed to be a signatory to the CARICOM Multilateral Air Services Agreement (MASA) which was renewed at the 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM government heads, held late last month in Haiti.
According to the CARICOM website, MASA first ratified in 1998 and first signed by St. Lucia in 1997, “addresses issues such as licensing requirements, insurance, traffic and transit rights, market access, sabotage and safety and security concerns.” within the region.
It is, as the same website puts it, “an important step towards the establishment of a single Market for air transport services as it provides the formal framework for air services among our member states.”
Prime Minister of St. Lucia Allen Chastanet brought up MASA in an interview. Calling this latest version of MASA “a modernization of…our regional civil aviation” he also stated that it “in essence means that we are going to have an open sky agreement within CARICOM.”
The “open sky” element of MASA Chastanet spoke about in the above, was expounded upon in a Caribbean News Now article entitled “Agreements signed at CARICOM meeting in Haiti” which says of the new MASA that it “expands the scope for airlines owned by CARICOM nationals to provide air services throughout the Community” and that it also “allows for no restriction on routes, capacity or traffic rights and should facilitate increased intra-regional travel and provide more cargo options for exporters and importers with resulting cost savings.”
Chastanet expressed hope that “by the time we get to July that everybody else also would have signed onto (MASA).” Since that interview, several other countries have been reported as having done so already.