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Airline Association: If Delta Can’t Make Money Flying to Guyana, We Don’t Want Anyone Flying to Guyana

You want your obscure airline fair trade fights? I’ll give you your obscure airline fair trade fights…

The airline trade association Airlines for America has asked the US Department of Transportation to oppose applications by two airlines to introduce nonstop service from JFK to Georgetown, Guyana, following the departure of Delta from the route.

Delta joined a short line of carriers (Universal, North American) to try to make the JFK-Georgetown route work, but to no avail. So two airlines – Caribbean Airlines (based in Trinidad, and currently serving JFK-Georgetown via Trinidad) and a new entrant, Fly Jamaica, have asked to jump in and serve the route. Godspeed to both.

But the AfA says that allowing those two airlines would be unfair competition (inasmuch as having no US carriers flying the route represents competition) because neither of those airlines is a flag carrier of the United States nor Guyana. They also blame Caribbean Airlines for “forcing the cancellation” of Delta’s flights because they were receiving fuel subsidies from Trinidad & Tobago (US airlines defeated by evil Caribbean overlords!)

This is all nonsense and what affect any of you, but I always find this kind of nonsense interesting…

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  1. Guyana is one of many cities in South America that has a ton of gold. I found out by watching History Channel’s Gold Rush.

  2. Jared, thank you this is fascinating. I was just looking at visiting the guyanas recently and was surprised at how limited the service was.
    I have always wondered about these types of rules. Could you provide insight or point me to a place where they are explained fairly simply? So it is OK for a route to be served by an airline based in one of the countries but not a third party airline?

    • In general, to carry passengers between 2 countries you need to be an airline based in one of those countries.

      However, there are exceptions (that are granted through various agreements).

      Most commonly you’ll hear about “fifth freedom” rights, which is when an airline can sell tickets on a route between 2 countries that does not include their home country (though the flight will ultimately continue to their home country). Cathay Pacific’s JFK-Vancouver-Hong Kong is an example, as they can sell tickets JFK-Vancouver.

      Caribbean Airlines is asking for what’s called 7th Freedom rights – the right to operate between 2 countries that are not your home country (with no continuation to your home country).

      The only other thing here is that no foreign carrier can operate a flight with paid passengers solely within the United States (Qantas flies JFK-LAX, but they cannot drop off passengers in LAX). This same rule is also why cruise ships have to leave the US before they come back to their home port.

      Hope that helps!

      • Thanks that is very helpful. However, you lost me with the last sentence. Could you please clarify which (domestic/foreign) cruise ships have to do what when?

        • Sure – Cruise ships that don’t fly the US flag (which is to say, nearly all of them), need to have a port of call outside the US if they depart from the US. In other words, a 3-day cruise from Miami has to stop in another country before returning to the US.

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