PM and team opt for cheaper flights to Chile; airfare to cost $375,000

Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 14:45

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley's and his delegation's airfare to and from Chile will cost taxpayers just over $375,000, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said.

A statement by the OPM explains that the delegation will fly business class on Copa Airlines instead of First Class on American Airlines, where the cost would have been over $1 million.

The following is the statement by the OPM.

"Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, will lead a high-level delegation to Chile for an official visit at the invitation of the President of Chile, Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet.

Chile is the largest importer of Trinidad and Tobago’s LNG. It is expected that energy-related matters will feature heavily on the agenda.

The Prime Minister’s flight will leave on Sunday morning shortly after 6 a.m. for Panama City where he will board a connecting flight that arrives in Santiago close to 8 p.m.

Members of the delegation include: Senator the Honourable Dennis Moses, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs; Senator the Honourable Franklin Khan, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries; Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry; the Honourable Stuart Young, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs; His Excellency Amery Browne, Ambassador of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the Republic of Chile.

The travel policy allows for the Prime Minister and Cabinet members to fly first class while on official duty.

However, in an effort to curb costs the Prime Minister rejected the option to fly first class with American Airlines and opted for business class on Copa Airlines.

The cost for the delegation to fly with American Airlines would have been TT$1,067,256.00, while the cost to fly Copa Airlines is TT$375,368.00.

This is just one of many instances where the Prime Minister has demonstrated his commitment to be judicious with the public purse.

The hectic itinerary for the two-day official visit includes a number of back-to-back meetings aimed at broadening our trade relationship with this South American partner."