The Caribbean Premier League—the sporting franchise that has evolved into the Regional signature sporting bonanza annually—in addition to the growing interest in Guyana’s emerging Oil and Gas sector has seen arrivals into the country skyrocket.
Arrivals at Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) for August 2017 set an unprecedented record of 34,796 passengers, surpassing the 2012 figure of 33,367.
Additionally, arrivals for the first 8 months rose to seven per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2016.
According to Cheddi Jagan International Airport Inc (CJIA), “The increase can be positively attributed to the Guyana leg of the Caribbean Premier League [CPL] tournament and… additional business travel due the expansion in the oil and gas and mining sectors.”
Substantive Minister David Patterson, commenting on the increase said “overall, 2017 is another strong year for us with business and tourist traveling demand levels steadily increasing.”
According to Patterson, Government is pursuing several carriers to assist with the additional influx of passengers.
“High on the list of priorities is a carrier to ply the South American/Georgetown market and both Legacy and Low Cost Carriers for the North American Market,” the Minister further stated.
While New York remains the largest key market, there has been an upsurge in other destinations such as Cuba and Panama.
Meanwhile, upon completion of the new Arrivals Terminal Building, with the inclusion of several facilities and amenities, CJIA’s capacity will be greatly augmented and strengthened, significantly impacting passengers’ experience.
The US$150 million project was scheduled to be completed within 32 months of its commencement in 2013; however, that the deadline was extended to December 1, 2017 since the project would have experienced several delays.
In 2012, Guyana, under the leadership of former President Donald Ramotar, had secured a US$138 million loan from the China Exim (Export-Import) Bank to fund the expansion and modernisation project, for which the Guyanese Government has injected some US$12 million.
When the coalition Government came into power in May 2015, the project was put on hold but following discussions between Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson, and the contracting company, China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC), it was announced that the project will be continued.
On completion the US$150M expansion projected is expected to yield two air passenger boarding bridges for passenger’s arrival and departures; a 450 seating departure area, escalators and elevators in addition to its extending runway catering for larger categories of aircraft.