Govt pursuing more airlift agreements for cheaper flights, more travel

The Government of Guyana, presently participating in the World Routes Forum being held in Las Vegas, Nevada, is actively pursuing more airlift agreements that will bring with it increased travel options for Guyanese and cheaper flights.
This is according to Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister Oneidge Walrond, who is leading a delegation to the forum that includes Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ramesh Ghir and Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority, Kamrul Baksh.

Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister Oneidge Walrond (centre) along with Minister of Tourism and Transport, Cayman Islands Kenneth Bryan (left) and Deputy Premier, Minister of Communications and Works, British Virgin Islands Kyle Rymer (right) at the World Routes Forum 2022

Over the next few days, Minister Walrond and team are expected to meet with several key persons in the aviation industry with the intention of encouraging investments in destination Guyana. During this visit, Minister Walrond is also expected to meet with several Ministers of Tourism from the Region.
“The forum presents an important opportunity for bringing additional airlift to Guyana. Our focus, as always, is to sell Guyana as a lucrative investment destination. We want to encourage investment that will allow cheaper airfares and increase travel and destination options,” Walrond said.
Meanwhile, Ghir underscored that Guyana has benefited tremendously from its participation in these engagements. According to him, the majority of new airlines entering the Guyana market are as a result of negotiations that have taken place at the Routes forum.
The World Routes is an annual event, which brings together airlines, airports, tourism authorities, tour operators and other key aviation decision-makers. It is also dedicated to route development and strategic planning in the aviation industry.
It was only last week that the Governments of Guyana and the People’s Republic of China inked an Air Service Agreement (ASA) – a move that not only seeks to enhance passenger travel and trade between the two countries but also broaden Guyana’s global connectivity.
The Agreement was signed between Public Works Minister Juan Edghill and Chinese Ambassador to Guyana, Guo Haiyan, at the Ministry’s Kingston, Georgetown, office. According to Minister Edghill, this ASA will facilitate air transport connectivity between the two nations and develop mutual relations in the field of civil aviation. He pointed out that while Guyana and China have excellent trade relations in different fields, the lack of direct airlink has been a disadvantage.
“The signature of this agreement puts the legal framework in place to address this challenge. So, China and Guyana would not only be “friendly” and… “distant” but would become nearer. It is anticipated that airlines of both countries will capitalise on the opportunities that exist for the movement of people and cargo between the two countries,” he stated.
In fact, the Public Works Minister outlined that there is already significant traffic of passenger and cargo between the two nations annually, and the enactment of this agreement will only foster cultural interactivity as well as advance air transport services, trade, and economic growth.
Further, he noted that such interconnectivity will seek to ensure that the tourism potential of Guyana is fully explored.
Moreover, the Public Works Minister outlined that the signing of this agreement is yet another step being taken by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration to expand Guyana’s global reach by establishing new air connectivity.
In May of this year, another Air Services Agreement was signed, this time with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to promote and facilitate the expansion of international air services opportunities between the two countries.
At the time, there were no direct flights operating between the two countries. With the new document, airlines can now ply the route, thereby widening connections, trade and economic growth.
And before that, the Government had signed an open skies agreement with Colombia, while also promising to fast-track the signing of a similar agreement with Nigeria that had been in limbo since 2014.
The Cheddi Jagan International Airport has meanwhile been expanded with modernisation works carried out by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), in preparation for this massive influx of new carriers and increased travel activity.
When the PPP/C Government entered office, there was a list of 71 critical works and a master list of 1500 works that were incomplete. Back in December, the Public Works Ministry had entered into an agreement with CHEC for the contractor to undertake some US$9 million in additional works to further extend the airport at no cost to the State.