MP calls for full disclosure of agreement between Govt and American Airlines
Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Juan Edghill has called for Government to disclose in its entirety, the agreement it signed with American Airlines to operate here.
This call comes in light of recent reports which suggest that Government may have waived a significant portion of the landing and air navigation fees for the North American airline.
“The Ministry needs to make public the entire agreement with American Airlines and to explain publicly why 90 per cent concession on the landing fees was required,” he said Monday.
The MP was quoting a report in sections of the media.
Edghill, who shadows the public infrastructure portfolio in the National Assembly, said Government needed to say how that agreement would benefit Guyana.
“Is this compatible with any concession that has been granted to any other airline that has operated in Guyana in the past or is operating currently?” he questioned.
The Opposition MP is also demanding that Government explain how this move will impact on the lowering of airfares to Guyana, stating that since the airline entered the market, airfares have not reduced.
It is alleged that the US-owned airline is targeting high-end passengers who are coming to conduct oil business in Guyana.
Not against concessions
Edghill said the Opposition is not against concessions, but noted that concessions must be granted with the aim of bringing value to Guyana.
“It must be equitable, non-discriminatory and it must not be putting another airline out of business, because they have to pay more. It must be a competitive arrangement,” he explained.
The MP said at this stage, without having all the information – the Opposition was very concerned about it and is asking for transparency and full disclosure on this matter.
Activist and commentator Christopher Ram has said that Guyana should not allow oil companies and any of their subcontractors to continue using American Airlines given the exorbitant travelling rates.
American Airlines is said to be the world’s largest airline by fleet size, revenue, scheduled passengers carried, scheduled passenger-kilometres flown, and the number of destinations served.
The airline started operations here in the latter part of 2018. It has an average of nearly 6700 flights per day to approximately 350 destinations in more than 50 countries.
The airline uses an Airbus 319 with capacity for 120 passengers to fly to Guyana from Miami four times per week, departing from Miami at 18:00h and arriving in Georgetown at 22:40h. The return flight usually departs at 01:15h and arrives at 04:55h.
However, the airline had the highest ticket prices for travel between Guyana and Miami. In some cases, the cost of a one-way ticket is as much as seven times higher than the cost of tickets to the same destination on other air carriers.
Since these recent developments and media reports, Government has not been forthcoming with information regarding the agreement.
Several calls were made to both Ministers of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson and Annette Ferguson. However, there was no success in getting a comment from either official.