By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor
PARAMARIBO, Suriname — Guyana will soon see the arrival of Caricom Airways, a small commuter airline from Suriname, which plans to connect Guyana’s Ogle International Airport with several regional airports in the Eastern Caribbean, Brazil and possibly two cities in Venezuela, according to CEO of Caricom Airways, Steven Chin-A-Kwie.
“The new service will originate in Paramaribo and will have onward connections to regional markets in Brazil, Venezuela and the Eastern Caribbean. We plan to start services to Guyana by November,” Chin-A-Kwie said.
Caricom Airways will be the second international carrier to land flights at Ogle; the first being LIAT. Next year, the airline will also open a new base in the Eastern Caribbean to serve the sub-regional markets.
Caricom Airways, based in Paramaribo, operates a mixed fleet of small aircraft. Last year, Chin-A-Kwie said that he plans to add four 50-seater aircraft to his fleet. The airline has been in existence since 2004 and provides charter services to various destinations in Suriname, the Caribbean and Brazil.
In further developments in the region, Surinam Airways (SLM) and the government of Suriname is currently discussing a US$200 million modernization and expansion of the state-owned carrier. At the same time, Paramaribo’s Johan Pengel Airport is undergoing an additional $70 million modernization to make that airport a regional hub.
Surinam Airways and Caricom Airways last year entered into an agreement whereby Caricom Airways operates as a feeder airline for SLM.
Chin-a-Kwie said, “We are two Surinamese airlines, now we found reasons and ways to team up; one mission within one vision and that is to connect the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).”