CAL looking at direct flights from Guyana to Toronto, Miami – new CEO
Following some discomfort from locals over the lack of direct flights from Guyana to the United States and Canada, new Caribbean Airlines (CAL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Garvin Medera has committed to correcting this situation as he engaged with several stakeholders during his visit to Guyana.
In fact, the official told reporters at the Private Sector Commission (PSC) headquarters on Wednesday that the issue was the main challenge of the Trinidadian carrier.
“The number one challenge for us is the inability to originate flights from Guyana. Based on the regulations, we have to route our flights through Port-of-Spain (Trinidad and Tobago’s capital city) before we come to Guyana which ultimately
means that there’s an in-transit experience, [which] we are aiming to improve, but it could be solved if we get the opportunity to start and end flights in Guyana which we want to do and it’s something that we have to make very clear,” he expressed.
The new CEO while noting that he was pleased that the PSC was on board with this plan, said that the company was working with the appropriate stakeholders to ensure that direct flights from Guyana became a reality. Medera’s engagement with aviation stakeholders and Government officials comes in light of other carriers signalling their intention to ply the Guyana route. These economic ventures come as oil production is expected for Guyana from 2020.
When asked by members of the press about reduced ticket prices in light of increased competition, Medera committed to value for service.
“We are very open to the idea of a competitive market; and that’s one of the ways that the people of Guyana will get the value that they deserve,” he noted. The CEO, who was appointed just one year ago, said that the company has been embarking on initiatives that seek value for money such as improved fuel consumption. He noted too that the Caribbean Region was small and many logistics have to be ironed out as CAL moved to improve the services it offered travellers. In any event, both the PSC Chairman, Desmond Sears and the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) thanked the airline for its over 70 years of service to Guyana as the bodies expressed hope that this country’s culture could be showcased.
Medera also met with the National Airport Transport Association (NATA) President, Captain Gerry Gouveia, who raised issues of local content, with a view of securing more employment for Guyanese.
“We didn’t want you to continue being a Trinidadian carrier posing as a Caribbean carrier. We wanted you to truly be a Caribbean carrier… [For] services to Guyana, we want you to demonstrate not only in the back office of your operations, but in the front office: local content – Guyanese flight attendants and pilots,” Captain Gouveia stressed.
From January to March 2018, 142,781 persons were processed for Guyana flights, which was higher than the 126,340 for the same period in 2017 and many of those persons travel to the United States and Canada. It was only in September 2018 that the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation (CJIAC) commissioned a new terminal with boarding bridges and more space. The 4891-square metre terminal features 10 passport control booths, one elevator, one escalator, two functional boarding bridges, three baggage carousels, a spacious customs area, and a public greeting hall to welcome family and friends. (Shemuel Fanfair)