Private Sector shoots down renaming of Ogle Int’l Airport
The Private Sector Commission (PSC) has added its voice to the growing condemnation against President David Granger over his recommendation that the Ogle International Airport be renamed and hopes that it reconsiders the proposal in face of competition concerns raised by most operators.
A proposal by the Head of State to rename the airport after Guyana’s first Public Transport Minister, Eugene Correia, continues to face resistance, with the PSC being the latest to speak on the issue.
In a statement on Tuesday, the PSC said the renaming of the airport in favour of a former public official of the same name as that of the Chairman of the Ogle Airport Inc will add to the already filled vessel of complaints regarding anti-competitive behaviour of the Board of Ogle Airport Inc.
The PSC said the operators publicly and privately have expressed opposition and dissatisfaction with the renaming of the airport and the PSC now urges the Government to consider carefully the views of the majority of operators at Ogle Airport in the interest of all concerned and to complete the promised audit and review.
Last year when the issue first surfaced, President Granger met with a group representing the private operators who have expressed worry over the name change. It was the President who had suggested the name change just after taking office.
That proposal met strong objections from most of the airline operators who work out of the Ogle Airport.
They have pointed to the fact that one of the airlines at Ogle, Trans Guyana, is owned by the Correia Group and that group’s owner is already the Chairman of the Airport.
The operators believe that adding the Correia name to the airport could give the company a bigger advantage in the busy local aviation sector.
Just recently, the President raised the issue again during his Public Interest television programme and referred to operators who opposed the name change as “petty minded people.”
These operators, the PSC said, have publicly and privately expressed their opposition and dissatisfaction with the re-naming of the airport.
“We urge the Government to consider carefully the views of the majority of operators at Ogle Airport in the interest of all concerned and to complete the promised audit and review,” the Commission said in a statement.
On his weekly television programme “The Public Interest”, last week, President Granger slammed aircraft operators for their delay in renaming the Airport. He said their behaviour of those operators is small minded.
Executive Director of Roraima Airways (RA) Gerry Gouveia however lashed back at the Head of State, saying that he was baffled by his insistence and determination to rename the entity against the wishes of the majority.
A few months ago, the President suggested the idea of renaming the airport as Eugene Correia International Airport but this did not sit well with some of the private aircraft owners who objected to the proposal.
These include Air Services Limited, and Roraima Airways, who were more concerned with mending some of the issues plaguing the airport and to holistically develop Guyana’s aviation sector.
At that time, President of the National Air Transport Association (NATA) Annette Arjoon-Martins had stated that despite tremendous contributions to Guyana’s growth over the years, the aviation sector has not seen the development and representation that it needs to propel it forward.
Correia Group of Companies is not a member NATA but according to Vice President Gerry Gouveia, this was due to the fact that the group was “refused” a meeting with Michael Correria regarding the issues affecting operators at the Airport.
However, the Head of State maintained that Eugene Correia would have made significant contributions to Guyana. Although dead for more than 50 years, his career has been described as stellar as he was Communications Minister, with the responsibility for aviation; a pilot; and also the recipient of a national award.