Posted: Thursday, August 6, 2020. 9:36 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: At his original announcement of the reopening date of the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) in June, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said there was some negotiation with the major airlines operating there.
COPA and Southwest Airlines have said they cannot operate in Belize until next year due to their own financial issues, and American Airlines had indicated they would not be ready to restart until August 18 if they could not go on July 1.
Now, American has responded to the delay in reopening the PGIA by warning, according to the Prime Minister, that “if you do delay the airport reopening to September, [we] cannot provide a firm date of when we would resume service. We are currently in the midst of cutting capacity out of our September and October schedules. We therefore may end up cancelling this market longer term in the event that the closure extends past our currently planned resumption of August 18. So there we are.” It did express sympathy over the rise in COVID-19 cases.
But Belize was not fazed, said the Prime Minister, citing a tourism stakeholder survey showing an overall majority against reopening the Airport if Ambergris Caye, the country’s chief tourism destination, goes on lockdown: 68.5 percent said no to reopening and 31.5 percent said yes.
On Ambergris Caye, the vote ran 58 to 42 percent against reopening; 72 percent said no in Belize City and 62.1 percent said no in Caye Caulker.
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