Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge said the prospects of more international airlines flying to Guyana are good. The minister was at the time taking a guided tour of the expansion and rehabilitation works at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
“We have to recognise that the prospect of more passengers is going to be an attraction for airlines. As a result of activities in mining, petroleum and gold you can expect more traffic and therefore I think airlines will be interested. I think it is difficult to look at the airport and not be excited by the space, by the light by the innovations and I think there will probably be some people who will travel just to be able to utilise the airport.”
Minister Greenidge disclosed that he has been approached by an American airline indicating an interest in servicing the local route. “[They] spoke with me indicating that they would be looking to see what’s happening to the traffic; what’s happening to the facilities and they will make their decision after they have acquired some additional aircraft.”
However, Greenidge was quick to caution that while the facilities are attractive, strong security measures must be in place to protect operators from having to pay heavy fines overseas for local breaches since this will be a deterrent to them coming.
“There are issues pertaining to security which affects the profitability of airlines. If the security isn’t stringent it means that airline flying out of here would find themselves fined and having to carry heavy burdens abroad. So, this is an area we have to pay closer attention to if we are to attract additional airlines.”
The management of the facility was also encouraged by Minister Greenidge to ensure the maintenance and management of the modernised airport is consistent with the ambitions to make the CJIA a significant hub in the region.
On completion, the US$150Million expansion and upgrade project is expected to yield four air passenger boarding bridges for passengers’ arrival and departure; a 450-person seating departure area; escalators and elevators, in addition to an extended runway that would cater for larger categories of aircraft.
By: Kidackie Amsterdam.