Improving domestic air travel through better infrastructure 

GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, January 5, 2016

Persons in mining, logging, farming, tourism and other hinterland residents should benefit from the upgraded airstrips and their infrastructural works.

Alphonso Mangah, Aerodromes Inspector addressing the Ministry of Public Infrastructure’s year-end 2016 press conference

This year, the government will be spending $60.7M for maintenance of the 50 airstrips. This was announced by Aerodromes Inspector, Alphonso Mangah at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure’s year-end review press conference on Wednesday, at Transport and Harbours Ground, Thomas lands, Georgetown.

A total of $170.0M is to be spent on the rehabilitation of three out of the 50 airstrips; Baramita, Region 1 at an estimated cost of $80.0M, Ekereku Bottom, Region 7 estimated to cost $40.0 M and Chi Chi (West) Region 7, to cost approximately $50.0 M.

These three airstrips were chosen based on specific criteria. “Number of flights over the past 10 years, aviation safety for aircraft operations and taking into consideration the number of beneficiaries,” Mangah explained.

In Guyana there are 57 licenced Government airstrips. Last year 47 were “maintained by the aerodrome department of the Ministry. The remaining 11 airstrips are being maintained by the villagers in their respective location, however inspections are carried out on a regular basis to ensure that they comply with standards outlined by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority,” Mangah explained.

Mangah explained that in 2016, “the budget allocated for the 47 airstrips was $56.6M.  Expenditure as at December 31, 2016 was 100%.”

Considerable repair and maintenance were done to the following airstrips:

Summary of Maintenance

1 Port Kaituma Airstrip $1,459.000 5 Aishalton Airstrip $4,724.000 9 Kamarang Airstrip $1,913.000
2 Mabaruma Airstrip $1,434.000 6 Anna Regina Airstrip $1,195.000 10 Ekereku Bottom Airstrip $1,795.000
3 Imbaimadai Airstrip $1,956.000 7 Lethem Airstrip $1,650.000 11 Bartica Airstrip $1,175.000
4 Kaieteur Airstrip $1,734.000 8 Paramakatoi Airstrip $1,130.000 12 Mahdia Airstrip $1,860.000
13 Annai Airstrip $3,922.000
TOTAL $25,922.000

To date, the contract for rehabilitation of the nine airstrips was awarded and the contractor has received mobilization advances to commence works. Two of the airstrips have been completed and are in the defects liability period. The others are slated to be completed by June 2017, the Aerodromes Inspector said.

Meanwhile the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority’s (GCAA) Director, Egbert Field stated that the air navigation sector is looking at developing the charts for Ogle and the Timehri airport approaches. Field said that, “works have begun ….to be completed by late 2017,” to make landing and takeoff of planes much safer.

The GCAA Director said that 2017 plans include:

– Completion of the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) project.

– More training of personnel

– Certification of Air Navigation School

– The commencement of building the new headquarters. (The GCAA has been housed in rented buildings for years)

-Acquisition of an air navigation state of the art simulator

-Installation of distance measuring equipment at Ogle to help guide air craft better

Field explained that the Air Navigation School is “to better training, it will greatly enhance the transition of air traffic controllers from the classroom to the actual event.” The simulator has been paid for and is expected to be in Guyana within the next few months.

Speaking on works planned for 2017, Field said, “These projects are not small projects, they entail a lot of work, a lot of preparation…with

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority’s ( GCAA) Director, Egbert Field addressing the Ministry of Public Infrastructure’s year-end press conference

Government’s great help and support…..it will be successful.”

The Director expressed his gratitude for the Ministry’s (Public Infrastructure) support throughout the year, and claimed 2016 was, “A very safe and productive year.”  He said “One of our greatest challenges was preparation for the audit by the International Civil Aviation Authority,” from which Guyana came out successful. “We were able to elevate ourselves when we completed that audit by moving from 42.24 percent compliance to 64.66 percent compliance,” stated the Director.

Last year much personnel training was conducted. “Training of our staff which was needed as a result of our audit showed …and I must say a lot of our staff were properly qualified with their initial training and also their on the job training,” the Director explained. Examinations have been computerised for pilots and air traffic controllers, and the GCAA is currently working on having engineers’ tests computerised.

Additionally, the study of the economic impact of air transport on the economy of Guyana began in 2016.

The year 2016 also saw the addition of three new airlines: FlyAlways out of Suriname, Easy Skies from Honduras and Eastern Airlines from the United States.

 

By: Zaneel Williams

 

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