Well now we can add on $5 extra to the ticket prices. The $5 is called a “rider fee” and has been sanctioned by the Government of Belize and the Belize Airport Authority. According to a letter issued from Tropic Air, all (Tropic) tickets will now increase by $5 to reflect the required fee starting January 24th, 2011. The San Pedro Sun spoke to Tropic Air about this change, and they have explained that if one buys a one-way ticket to the mainland, and from there decides to buy another ticket to return, the $5 fee will be charged each time a ticket is purchased. To save a bit on the price, it is highly recommended that customers buy round trip tickets with open returns.
The Belize Airport Authority General Manager, Kenworth Tillett explained to The Sun that the fee came about as a result of all the planned improvements for the airports countrywide. The Statutory Instrument #44 to increase the rider fee was Gazetted on May 8th, 2010. He did indicate that airlines had been informed that the fee was imminent. The San Pedro Airstrip (John Greif Airport) is “way ahead of the curve in terms of improvements,” stated Tillett. He was of course, speaking of the proposed improvements reported in Issue #49, Vol. 20 of The San Pedro Sun, wherein a groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the beginning of the much-needed works on the San Pedro Airport.
Improvements are in the plans for airstrips/ports throughout the country, and the fee collected will go towards paying the loans that are financing the projects.