New COVID-19 regulations for aviation sector laid in the National Assembly

Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill has submitted to the National Assembly new regulations under the Civil Aviation Act to ensure the safety of passengers, crew and airport staff in the new Covid environment.

The Minister explained the move to DPI on the side-lines of Thursday’s consideration of Budget estimates.

Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill

“We must understand that in the law where regulations are to be made, we have to be proactive to ensure that we have the required effect.

These regulations will guide how air traffic controllers and navigational services are offered in a pandemic. It will address the issue of the Port Health Authority, various operators at the airport, how we process passengers who are checking-in,” he said.

The regulations will also cater for use of proper signage and the appropriate seating arrangements consistent with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines to mitigate transmission of the disease.

Additionally, the regulations will impact the operations at security checkpoints, including the cleaning of public areas at the airports, flight crew procedures – airborne and on the ground – the processing of arriving passengers, aircraft operations and sensitisation of personnel and the transporting of human remains.

COVID-19 testing requirements are also a major part of the regulations as airline operators are mandated to only check-in passengers leaving Guyana with negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen tests. For arriving passengers, a negative PCR test for COVID-19 is still compulsory.

Further, the regulations stipulate penalties for passengers, airport and aircraft operators for any breach of the regulations.

Minister Edghill emphasised that the regulations are to safeguard Guyanese from the spread of COVID-19 and a commitment was made to update the regulations when necessary.

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority under the Ministry of Public Works has outlined a number of standard operating procedures that guide the operations at the country’s two main international airports and at local aerodromes.