The government has launched yet another probe, this time into the unauthorized departure of two light aircraft from the Eugene F. Correia (Ogle) International Airport in Guyana, last Saturday.
State Minister Joseph Harmon today announced during a post-Cabinet press briefing that the probe would unearth those who were involved and recommendations will be made to ensure that there is no repeat of such an incident.
He stated that Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson had advised the Cabinet that an inquiry has been launched as part of the administration’s move to guarantee that there is no recurrence of such an incident in the future.
“There are very serious matters in relation to security and the fact that the Eugene F. Correia Airport is an international airport, that makes it even more important to ensure that our security procedures are tightened,” he said.
On Saturday last, the aircraft, bearing registration numbers 8R-GTP and 8R-GMP, departed Guyana even though they were not supposed to do so.
Acting Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, Chitranie Heeralall had confirmed that the aircraft left Guyana without the necessary authorization.
The aircraft, worth US$110,000 each, are owned by Oxford Aviation and were subjected to a court injunction by Phoenix Airways. The planes were however, detained in Anguilla after flying through Trinidad airspace and landing in Grenada to refuel.
This newspaper understands that one of the pilots was identified as a Guyanese who owns a flight school and charter service in the United States; and the other is not licensed to fly in Guyana’s airspace.
However, speaking on behalf of the Eugene F. Correia International Airport, Kit Nascimento related that all security protocols were followed on the morning when the aircraft departed.
He explained that at approximately 04:00hrs on Saturday, two staff attached to Oxford Airways presented their air flight passes at the airport security scanner and entered the airport. The men told the security staff at the scanner that they were going to their aircraft to put some stuff on board”, Nascimento explained.
In fact, he noted that the pilots took off without filing a flight plan and without notifying the airport security and immigration.
He stressed that all the airport security staff were on duty and would have allowed the men onto the airstirp because they had air flight passes. The pilots, the official reiterated, did not notify the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The air traffic control tower was only aware of what was happening as the aircraft were taxing down the runway to take off.