By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – While the new APNU+AFC administration is attempting to increase Guyana’s standing on International Aviation fronts, its efforts may be hampered by one thing – a national airline.
For Guyana or any country to be given Category One status, one of the prerequisites is for the company to have its own flag carrier. Category one would refer to the certification, ratings, privileges, and limitations of air transport and also refers to a broad classification of aircraft.
Guyana is currently at Category two according to the Federal Aviation Authority guidelines. Ministers of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson and Annette Ferguson while emphasizing the need for Guyana to attain Category one status, noted that considerations for a national airline have not been given much thought.
“We were not able to reach Category One because we did not have our own National Air carrier. In order for us to gain full category one, we must have our own National air carrier…without us now having our air carrier we are still trying to see how best,” said Minister Ferguson.
It was noted too that one of the reasons for Guyana not having category one status is a lack of trained personnel in the aviation field; however the government is making ardent steps to fill vacant post in this area.
Patterson noted that the government is already in receipt of documents calling for the re-introduction of a flagship carrier.
“There would have been several submissions from companies and individuals about the reestablishment of a National airline…you know airline travel and the costs to maintain an airline is not cheap…it’s not a cheap issue,” said Patterson.
Combined in these efforts is the tabling of an Amended Civil Aviation Act, which according to Ferguson will give the Aviation Authority to legal groundings to conduct its work.
The Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament before the end of 2015. A recent poll conducted by iNews indicates that persons believe the government should pursue the option of a National Airline.
iNews asked: In light of poor service and high airline tickets cost, particular to North America, should the government pursue a national airline carrier? In response, 76.9% of respondents voted ‘yes’, while 20.6% voted ‘no’ and a mere 2.5% were undecided.
Guyana had its own airline in the 1970’s but it ceased just before the year 2000. During this period, Guyana Airways operated services to destinations throughout the Caribbean, the U.S. and Canada.
Guyanese rely on other air services such as Caribbean Airlines, Fly Jamaica, Dynamic Airways and others, which sometimes prove to be unreliable given a number of delays.