Reopening of airports must not be rushed – GCAA

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Guyanese returning home after being stranded overseas due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [CJIA photo]
The National COVID-19 Task Force has set into motion a blueprint for the four-stage phased reopening of the country’s airports to international travel.

This was disclosed by Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Egbert Field who noted that the reopening of the airports cannot be rushed.

The GCAA head stated that critical planning, as outlined by Phase 1 of the blueprint, is essential to the airports’ resuming international travel.
During this phase that began June 1, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were developed to guide health, safety and security at the airports and aboard flights in light of COVID-19.

Further, the GCAA has already drafted regulations that will bolster the SOPs by applying penalties to individuals and entities should there be any infractions.

DG Field added that training for stakeholders to interact with passengers also forms a necessary part of the phased reopening plans.

Phase 2 is expected to be set into a higher gear with travel permitted for diplomats, foreign workers. It will also see an increase in repatriation flights while moving towards the resumption of regional and international travel. This phase will culminate on July 31.

For Phase 3 which will commence in August, paving the way for more travel of foreign nationals and the persons in the tourism and business sectors. It will run until year-end when phase 4 will kickstart. That phase leads to the further reopening of the airports into 2021.

Throughout all phases, the Director-General noted there will be continuous engagement with all stakeholders to make adjustments where necessary. Further, he pledged GCAA’s commitment to working alongside other states within the region to have a harmonised reopening strategy.