By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – While the Government of Guyana has established the importance of a Flagship carrier and achieving Category One status, a local stakeholder has disagreed on the line of priority.
Speaking at an aviation security conference on Monday, October 19, Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo and Junior Public Infrastructure Minister, Annette Ferguson plugged the need for a National airline.
According to Minister Ferguson, Guyana will not be left behind in the pursuit of better standards for aviation in Guyana. She stated that Guyana will pursue the strengthening of the regulatory regimes and other essential framework in the aviation sector.
Additionally, Prime Minister Nagamootoo followed sharply on her heels, indicating that “Guyana must and will have a return to its national airline.”
But according to veteran pilot and local airline operator, Captain Gerald Gouveia, the issues outlined by the Government should not be of paramount importance.
According to Gouveia, Category One is a requirement of the US government and not for the statutory body which would be the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
“Our first priority is meeting ICAO standards. We should do everything to meet ICAO standards and then maybe we could start thinking about category one,” said Gouveia.
According to Gouveia, “A national carrier is a pie in the sky – the money it will take this country to re-establish a national carrier and to do one that meets international standards is a pie in the sky.”
“For 2016 what is the main thing we want them to spend money on? Certainly that is capacity building in civil aviation; it has to be a number one priority and then the systemic things…search and rescue…we need search and rescue to be dealt with as a major priority.”
Meanwhile, Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Chatrani Heralall stated that the infrastructural sector of aviation is lagging behind.
She explained that while Guyana has potential to develop, the advents have not been fully exploited.
“While the industry has grown tenfold, the aviation authority has remained the same from its inception,” she stated.
It was noted that the staffing and personnel capacity are still technically the same. Despite these challenges, the GCAA, she noted has taken a decision to implement aeronautical surveillance throughout Guyana, which is being seen as a landmark achievement.