Local authorities monitor airline situation:
Airport Department director Andres Van der Horst and Civil Aviation Institute director Jose Tomas Perez have told El Caribe that they are monitoring the airline situation and flight reductions with a view to putting forward solutions aimed at helping compensate airlines for the increases in costs.
News reports indicate that American Airlines has already cut flights from nine to five a day, leaving two at Cibao International, two at Las Americas and one at Punta Cana. American Airlines is the leading carrier serving the DR. Perez favors lowering taxes in order to keep fares down to a reasonable level. Local government taxes and airport charges are said to be the highest in the region.
UPDATE (5 June 08)
Here are yet more flight cuts to the DR. Not that the DR is a fabulous place to vacation, but the world economy is suffering due to the high price of fuel. If the DR wants to continue its tourism growth they need to quickly evaluate their fee system. Politicians stop being greedy! For the sake of the country please reduce those taxes and airport charges!
American Airlines has announced another round of flight cuts to the Dominican Republic as of September 3. Minette Velez, American Airlines Caribbean communications manager, now says that come September the SDQ (Las Americas International) flights to St. Maarten and Fort Lauderdale will be eliminated. Likewise, after the peak summer months traffic is over, as of 3 September flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico, a very profitable route for AA, will be only served by American Eagle, and the jet service will be eliminated. AE service frequency will be increased from four to eight operations a day. AA flights from Las Americas International (SDQ) to John F Kennedy International in New York, will be reduced to one, from two. Santiago (STI) and Punta Cana (PUJ) will also only be served by a daily flight from JFK.
Earlier this week, Delta Airlines announced that it would suspend its JFK-SDQ flight as of 9 September, and reroute passengers through the Atlanta flight. The airline also plans to suspend its Santiago flight starting 15 September.
US Airways has announced that it will reduce its operations to its Punta Cana route come September. The SDQ flight to Philadelphia could resume in November, the fuel situation permitting.
The director of the Dominican Civil Aviation Institute, Jose Tomas Perez is advocating tax cuts on aviation fuel and other costs passed on to consumers in the fares, to compensate for the record fuel costs. The DR depends on airline transportation, says Perez, who said that traffic is at around nine million passengers a year, including departures and arrivals. He said that tourism and the aviation industry combined make up 32% of the Gross Domestic Product. Several small Dominican-based airlines hope to enter market to fill the void left by the big companies. But will they be adequately able to do so?