InterCaribbean Airways Limited, based in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and FlyAllways – two regional airlines that had expressed an interest in establishing flights to and from Guyana – are the latest airlines to receive Cabinet approval to operate locally.
This was revealed by Public Works Minister Juan Edghill during an engagement on Monday with a number of other airlines on industry issues.
He informed them of the Government’s vision for the aviation sector, as well as the operators lined up to provide a service to the country.
“Since we’ve reopened the airports, we’ve facilitated more than 60,000 passengers who’ve entered Guyana. That number is rapidly going to grow. We’re engaging new airlines to come to Guyana. We’ve just approved, at the level of Cabinet, two new airlines to operate. InterCaribbean and FlyAllways.”
“There are applications for other airlines that we’re considering. We’re continuing the conversation with Virgin, which has to go to the next level. The next stage is a call between the CEO of Virgin Atlantic and myself, to see if we can get some accommodation on the way forward,” the Minister further explained.
Meanwhile, the Minister also spoke of the expansion ongoing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). According to him, the Government is looking to have flights from the Eastern world, including the Middle East, from where there has been much investor interest since the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) came to power.
“With the expansion of CJIA, we’re also looking to have flights coming from the East. Not just Europe and the North, but from the East. Businesses coming to Guyana are also coming from that direction. Guyana will still be promoted as a hub for regional travel and international connectivity.”
“We still want Guyana as a link between the Caribbean and South America. We still want to ensure we can bring in the wider body jets, carry more passengers, with capacity for greater cargo and to bring costs down on the economy of scale,” the Minister said.
FlyAllways, which is Suriname owned, was granted approval to operate in Guyana only last month.
According to Edghill at the time of the announcement, FlyAllways would operate the Suriname, Barbados and Curacao route out of CJIA.
A number of commercial carriers have already reintroduced flights to and from Guyana since the Government moved to reopen the ports. One such airline was American Airlines, which restarted late last year.
Eastern Airlines also introduced four flights weekly from Miami and New York, while COPA Airlines started three flights weekly from Panama. And Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) also started flying between CJIA and the Lester B Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Canada.
CAL said flights would be operated each Monday and Friday, with connections available from Trinidad and Barbados. CAL also reintroduced its commercial service between Guyana and New York, which took effect on October 19 following the reopening of the country’s international ports in September.
JetBlue also launched its commercial flight between New York and Guyana in December of 2020. The airline announced that flights would initially be operated up to four times weekly, with seats available for purchase starting on October 27.
JetBlue had originally announced the new route between New York City and Georgetown in September 2019, but temporarily paused the sale of seats and adjusted the launch schedule in response to changes in global travel demand.
Local authorities had closed the country’s borders – including the two main international airports – since March 2020, after the first imported case of COVID-19 was detected. From then to August, the CJIA recorded losses of over one billion dollars due to the pandemic.