…Jamaica already suspended operating certificate
…no application received from JetBlue
Embattled Fly Jamaica Airways is soon to be suspended from all operations in Guyana given the recent actions of its home country, Jamaica, already suspending the airline’s operating certificate.
This is according to Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Lieutenant Colonel (Ret’d) Egbert Field, who in an interview with Guyana Times stated that Fly Jamaica Airways is yet to supply to the agency with information on what it intends to do with its operations locally.
“What I know is that their air operating certificate has been suspended in Jamaica. Therefore, we too will have to suspend any operation because their home base, which is Jamaica, has suspended their air operating certificate,” Field said.
On November 9, 2018, one of the company’s aircraft crash-landed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri, which saw an 85-year-old passenger succumbing one week later.
The Boeing 757 aircraft crashed on an emergency landing less than an hour after taking off for Toronto, Canada. The aircraft had experienced technical complications and decided to return to Guyana.
At the time, there were 118 adults, along with two infants and an eight-member crew onboard.
Since then, the airline has not been able to resume operations and in March 2019 announced that it was making its workers redundant. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paul Ronald Reece stated in a letter to employees on Friday, March 29, 2019, that their services were redundant as of March 31, 2019.
According to him, the company was hoping to secure funding but the acquisition process has been slow. Reece nevertheless assured employees that the compensation they are owed from November to date will be provided.
The company also said that it was continuing to provide refunds to passengers affected by the disruption in its air service. It also said that all requests for refunds are being honoured, however, it is a process that has to be checked by its reservations and accounts staff.
However, a number of passengers are still complaining since they are yet to be reimbursed. Employees had also reached out to the media since they too are awaiting payments.
Speaking on the matter, the GCAA head said that the entity is not mandated to oversee refunds from any airline but as a matter of concern to the public he did approach Fly Jamaica Airways on the issue.
“The last time we had discussions with Fly Jamaica which is a month ago. When we approached them on this topic of refunds they said they were in the process of dealing with the passengers as they come.”
No application by JetBlue
Meanwhile, in relation to another overseas-based air carrier, JetBlue, and its expected services in Guyana, Field explained that no formal application process to operate here has commenced.
“JetBlue has made no application to the Civil Aviation Authority and I have been hearing about this in the media about them coming to Guyana but JetBlue has made no application to the GCAA which is the authority that has to do with the approval and public process,” Field said.
According to the GCAA’s Director General, for any airline to express an interest in operating in this country, the agency is the authority mandated to oversee the formal processes. However, in the case of JetBlue, thus far it has only been “conversations” about operations.
“Any airline coming to Guyana has got to make its application to the GCAA and we go through the process of verifying information and assessing their operational capabilities before we move into the final stage of giving them an approval. But there is a process which has got to be gone through and it starts with the GCAA,” Field said.
He added that JetBlue is welcomed at any time to apply as is required to commence operations in Guyana but the timeframe that it would take to process and finalise such an agreement officially would depend on that airline.
“It depends on the size of the organisation, how fast they can get their information to us, in order to come up to the final stage of giving approval. Because it has to go all to the subject Minister and to the Cabinet for a new entity coming in.
So there is a string of things which have got to be done and it could take as much as two to three months or even longer depending on how quickly they can send information and how fast the process can be entered,” he added. (Kristen Macklingam)