…as KLM introduces new Europe route with Trans Guyana
As the local aviation sector continues to expand with the influx of traffic heading Guyana’s way as a result of the budding petroleum sector, United Kingdom-based Virgin Atlantic Airways is the newest airline to express interest in expanding its service to Georgetown. This was revealed by Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson, who recently engaged top officials from Virgin Atlantic. “They were on a Skype call to myself and Minister of Finance (Winston Jordan) on them coming here… This was the Director of the airline [with oversight for] routes. He’s going into a meeting and he would like to know what is Guyana’s position, saying he would like to put Guyana on their route for 2020,” the Minister said on Friday at the sod-turning ceremony for the construction of a new Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) headquarter at Providence, East Bank Demerara. According to the Public Infrastructure Minister, there are two other major international airlines looking to expand their routes to Guyana. However, on Friday, domestic carrier Trans Guyana Airways announced that it teamed up with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines – the flagship carrier of the Netherlands – to introduce a new route to Europe through Amsterdam. The new arrangement will connect passengers to the Amsterdam International Airport Schiphol from Eugene F Correia International Airport at Ogle, East Coast Demerara, through Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport in Suriname. With an estimated travelling time of just 12 hours, and no United States or Suriname visas required, travellers can save time when travelling to the Netherlands with further connections to other parts of Europe and Asia. Online booking will be available from August 20, while flights will commence on September 1, 2019. Trans Guyana Airways will operate two flights weekly (Sunday and Monday) departing Ogle at 14:00h to the Paramaribo Airport. The KLM flight will then depart Suriname at 17:30h for Amsterdam. KLM is just one of several new airlines wanting to expand their route service to Guyana. Already, American carrier JetBlue had announced its intention to operate here, but Director General of the GCAA Egbert Field said that nothing official is before him from that airline. With regards to Guyana Airways, he is also awaiting a formal application from the operator. “They have been pushing back the date for the submission of that formal application so we are awaiting that. We had the pre-application meeting which is part of phase one of the five phases when it comes to certification… and the pre-application is just to say what they intend to do and we advise them on what the requirements are and then we await the formal application after they digest that… [JetBlue is] supposed to submit their formal application to us and it has been some time now we’ve been waiting for that,” the GCAA Head posited. Meanwhile, another US carrier, American Airlines, which is already operating from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), is schedule to expand its services here in December, with daily flights to New York City. Only in February, Guyana signed Air Service Agreements with 16 countries at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Air Services Negotiation (ICAN) event. The agreements are provisionally applied, meaning airlines from any of those countries can commence flights to Guyana at any time provided that the airlines are operating by the conditions outlined in the ASAs. Agreements were signed with Luxembourg, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, United Kingdom, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Cameroon, Oman, Malaysia, Jordan, Zimbabwe, Colombia, Morocco, Gambia, Rwanda, and Tanzania.