A session by aviation attorney Bryan Winters on public-private partnerships in the tourism and transportation industries on Wednesday at the Caribbean Aviation Meetup in Nassau, Bahamas, led to an announcement yesterday that a Caribbean Airlift Alliance has been formed. The objective of the conference was to get a better understanding of what is inhibiting growth in the region and ideas for overcoming the most vexing issues, said Winters, an aviation attorney with deep experience in the Caribbean and the chief development officer and general counsel for Miami-based seaplane operator Tropic Ocean Airways.
His session sparked a conversation among representatives from government and aviation companies throughout the Caribbean, and one item they all agreed upon was that they need to talk more. William Bolke, CEO of Bolke International Airways in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, asked if there was any Caribbean airlift group that could partner with government. When the answer was "no," Tropic Ocean Airways CEO Rob Ceravolo proposed forming the group.
So far, principals from several operators in the Bahamas and Caribbean and the government ministries they interact with have agreed to form the alliance, which plans to meet regularly. “This is the reason we hold these meetups,” CaribAvia conference chair Bud Slabbaert told AIN. “When they stay in a room and keep the discussion going long enough, change actually happens.”