Int’l, regional carriers: Airline applications to operate in Guyana with Minister – GCAA Director
The various regional and international airlines that have expressed an interest in operating out of Guyana and have expressed same to the Government, are currently still going through the approval process at the ministerial level.
This is according to Director of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Egbert Field, when he was asked on the side lines of a recent event for an update on these airlines.
“It’s now at the ministerial level. InterCaribbean, they are receiving some favourable reviews. But it’s at the ministerial level. And the Minister will make the pronouncement on that,” Field explained to the media.
Guyana Times had previously reported on statements made by the then acting Director General of the GCAA, Chaitrani Heeralall, who had revealed that seven airlines had signalled their interest in operating here.
The air service providers are Fly AllWays, InterCaribbean Airways, One Caribbean Limited, Jetair Caribbean, Skybus Airlines, Sky High Aviation Services and Guyana Rotorcraft Services Inc.
Heeralall had explained that following the reopening of the airports last October, JetBlue Airways commenced operations, while American Airlines added New York along with its Miami route.
Meanwhile, Director of Air Transport Management, Saheed Sulaman had said at the time that before the airlines start operations in Guyana, they must complete an economic, safety and security assessment.
“In terms of the timeline for the process, a complete submission for the economic requirement, we can do that in a matter of two weeks, maximum three weeks. For the safety assessment, the regulations require that applicants give us at least a minimum of 90 days’ notice for that; if they submit a complete package, it could be shorter. And for the security programme, in a matter of a month, I think, the guys could turn that around,” Sulaman said.
Additionally, he had said the timeline is dependent on the applicant submitting adequate information. Sulaman said that once the internal review and processes are completed, a recommendation would be made to Public Works Minister Juan Edghill, who would then take it to Cabinet for approval.
Back in May of this year, InterCaribbean Airways Limited, based in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Fly Allways – two regional airlines that had expressed an interest in establishing flights to and from Guyana – received Cabinet approval to operate locally.
At the time, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill had revealed during an engagement with some other airlines that there were a number of other operators lined up to provide a service to the country.
“There are applications for other airlines that we’re considering. We’re continuing the conversation with Virgin, which has to go to the next level. The next stage is a call between the CEO of Virgin Atlantic and myself, to see if we can get some accommodation on the way forward,” the Minister had explained.
A number of commercial carriers have reintroduced flights to and from Guyana since the Government moved to reopen the airports in October. One such airline was American Airlines, which restarted late last year.
Eastern Airlines also introduced four flights weekly from Miami and New York, while COPA Airlines started three flights weekly from Panama. Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) also started flying between CJIA and the Lester B Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Canada.
JetBlue also launched its commercial flight between New York and Guyana in December of 2020. The airline had originally announced the new route between New York City and Georgetown in September 2019, but temporarily paused the sale of seats and adjusted the launch schedule in response to changes in global travel demand.
Local authorities had closed the country’s borders – including the two main international airports – since March 2020, after the first imported case of COVID-19 was detected. From then to August, the CJIA recorded losses of over one billion dollars due to the pandemic.