Gov’t looking for alternative to address funding for air transport sector

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Public Works Minister, Robeson Benn
Public Works Minister, Robeson Benn

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn has noted that Government will have to find an option to address the issue of funding for aviation services, whose allocation was cut by the Opposition during the consideration of the 2014 National Budget Estimates.

Using their one-seat majority on April 10, the Opposition voted against the budgetary allocation of $6.5 billion for the aviation sector. That vote also affected the funding for other aviation services, as $235M had been budgeted under the same heading with the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) for rehabilitation of hinterland airstrips as well as for the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

The sum of $185M was for hinterland/coastal airstrips and $50M for civil aviation equipment were slashed.

“Government is distressed by anything which impacts negatively on interior development. The maintenance of interior domestic airport is critical for our country…This cut is grievous to the country and we would have to find ways to somehow get around this issue and I know the Ministry of Finance is looking at this,” Minister Benn noted.

With respect to the mishaps which have occurred recently and even resulting in deaths, Minister Benn emphasised that the ministry continues to work with the industry to ensure that they take all the necessary steps to ensure that flying is safe and sustainable in the country.

The number of aircraft movements has been increased five-fold when compared to five years ago. Domestic air travel out of Ogle airport itself and even interior flight movements from Mahdia and the Pakaraimas have dramatically increased.

[Extracted and Modified from GINA]

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