Aviation conferenceThe ongoing air transport conference organised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has brought many experts into the Region to promote air travel.Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocqueCaribbean Community (Caricom) Secretary General Irwin LaRocque took the opportunity to highlight that keeping with the Caricom Treaty entails interminable efforts to develop transportation in the Region.“The Caricom Treaty requires the Community’s constant trade and economic development to develop policies and programmes to facilitate the transportation of people and goods,” he stated.According to LaRocque, sections of the framework demand air service that is safe but competitive enough to foster development.“It [Caricom has also been charged with coordinating the national transport policies of Member States. The Community transport policy, which is provided for in the treaty, calls for the provision of adequate, safe and internationally competitive transport services for the development and consolidation of the Caricom Single Market and Economy.”He further linked these required qualities to the regional integration process of countries within Caricom by adding, “There is no doubt that safe, efficient and cost-effective transportation within this region is critically important to our regional integration process.”Caricom Member States are scattered across the Region, and air transport is crucial in connecting people of these nations. The Secretary General is of the opinion that such engagements with officials would foster tourism on an elevated level if action was taken based on these decisions.“Given the geographic spread of our Member States, such a transportation system is essential to fulfil the goal of free movement of people and goods. It is equally important in fostering the spirit of community among our people. It will also facilitate the growth of tourism that is so crucial to the economies of the Member States,” LaRocque claimed.Last February, Member States approved the Caricom Multilateral Air Services Agreement, which provides a range of advantages to passengers and creates new markets for these airlines.“This is a major advance as it expands the scope for airlines owned by Caricom nationals to go to new markets within the Community. The agreement allows for no-restriction on routes, capacity or traffic rights among the participants,” the SG noted.The Air Transport Meeting concludes today after input from the ICAO and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) under the theme “Promoting Connectivity for Sustainable Air Transport Development’’. Issues such as harmonising the regional air transport regulatory framework and the liberalisation of air cargo were also on the agenda for discussion.