Guyana government not interested in two-plane startups or a national carrier

Guyana government not interested in owning a national carrier

March 7, 2018 By Ray Chickrie – Caribbean News Now contributor

GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Minister of state, Joseph Harmon, announced last week that the Guyana government will not grant operating permission to a one- or two-plane airline because travellers have had enough with fly-by-night airlines. He also disclosed that his government isn’t interested in getting into the airline business again, but called on the private sector to take up the task of setting up a local airline.   

According to Demerara Waves, the minister told a gathering in New Jersey that the private sector should fill the void and set up an airline with the support of multinational companies or a solid airline with “enough aircraft and back-up facilities” to serve the travelling public properly.

“The question of a national airline is an opportunity which exists for our Guyanese people to explore and exploit,” he said.

“All I would ask of you is don’t bring no one-plane airline or no two-plane airline so that you take all the people money so that when is the peak season, you leave all of them in Guyana. We don’t want that. We will not allow any other operation like that – those fly-by-night operations,” he added.

Over the past decades, Guyana allowed fly-by-night carriers such as Guy/America, Suncoast, Tropical Airways, Universal Airways and EasyJet that left passengers stranded at airports in Guyana and North America, without compensations.

A new start up carrier, Guyana Airways 2018, which is looking to fly soon, is seeking an air operator’s certificate (AOC) from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), and the airline claims that this can help Guyana achieve US FAA CAT 1 certification, which means that Guyana based airlines can fly non-stop to US cities. The two countries have an open-skies agreement.

In a statement on Facebook on Sunday, the airline left a very vague message that read, “Guyana Airways is the only national based airline with foreign routes ever certificated in the history of Guyana. With that said, one would believe the historic return and application for certification of Guyana Airways would be an event posted on GCAA’s blog site or at least generate a press release by GCAA.”

Guyana Airways 2018 added, “If the press would do their due diligence, they would demand an answer to the obvious question. Why?”

Hence, is seems that there is tension between GCAA and Guyana Airways 2018.

What “question” is Guyana Airways referring to? It is very unclear. Has the company been granted an AOC or is it questioning a delay in getting the AOC? GCAA and Guyana Airways were contacted but declined to respond to inquiries.

It seems that the airline is seeking official status as the national flag carrier of Guyana, and the company is already hiring pilots, flight attendants, caterers and ground staff.

Major oil discoveries off the coast of Guyana will transform the economy because the country is poised to earn over US10 billion from oil revenue in the next 20 years. There will be great demand for first class seats to Guyana and that is a big reason why a few US companies are now more interested in the Guyana market. There is much talk about Delta Airlines re-entering the Guyana market and especially to link Guyana with the oil industry city of Houston.

With Guyana soon to achieve FAA CAT 1 status, and the US$150 million upgrade of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) slated to be completed the end of 2018, the local aviation industry should see tremendous growth.

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