PPP/C Gov’t committed to the development of Guyana’s aviation sector

Recently there have been a few reports in the press and on social media from Dr. Colin Abrams, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Guyana Airways Corporation Inc (GAC). announcing the sale of his company (Guyana Airways Corporation Inc). I have no objection to the sale of his company, as I believe it is a private matter for him, however; what I find very disconcerting is the reason provided for the sale of his company, i.e. the lack of this administration’s interest in starting a dialogue to help the country of Guyana establish an airline.

Dr. Abrams’ assessment of this government’s posture on interest in his intention to establish a national airline is unfounded. He must be informed that our government is a facilitator of business, which we do for all sectors of the economy. We encourage investment!

Since assuming office as Minister of Public Works, we have met with numerous airlines – both potential and existing within the industry in Guyana. We make it our duty to advise these air operators that the government is interested in facilitating investment in the aviation industry, so we can improve travel options and connectivity for people and cargo, whether domiciled in Guyana or abroad.

In the past, Ministers of this government and myself have made public, that the government is pushing aggressively to attract more international airlines to come to Guyana and certainly that includes, Guyanese-owned companies such as GAC. We are interested in more airlines servicing Guyana which will complement the government’s transformative agenda for Guyana. I am happy to report that our engagements thus far have been successful.

Therefore, Dr. Abram’s statement about this government’s lack of interest in getting a national airline is far from the truth. In early 2021, I enquired from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) as to the status of GAC’s application and I was advised that the company has not completed its application process with the regulatory agency for acquisition of an Air Operator Certificate (AOC). The AOC is a certificate authorising an operator to carry out specified commercial air transport operations. Acquisition of the AOC is a five-phase process as follows:

  • Phase 1: Pre-application Statement of Intent (PASI)
  • Phase 2: Application
  • Phase 2: Document Evaluation
  • Phase 4: Demonstration
  • Phase 5: Certification

Evidence from the regulatory body (GCAA) showed that in September 2016, GAC initiated its intention to operate commercial air transport services in Guyana and commenced Phase 1 of the AOC process on June 23, 2017. By November 2019, GAC had made little progress in submitting the requisite documentation to the GCAA and the company was only at Phase 2 of the AOC process.

On November 20, 2019, the GCAA wrote the company advising, that the AOC process was terminated because of GAC’s failure to meet all its promised deadlines for submission of the requisite documentation. GAC’s application process was terminated by the GCAA almost ten (10) months before the PPP/C government took office on August 2, 2020.

In no certain terms, I would like for it to be known that the PPP/C government is a facilitator of business, and our plan is to support development of aviation in Guyana and most assuredly, GAC or any other is welcome to invest in Guyana, just follow the process.

As a policy decision, this government will not direct the GCAA to issue an AOC credential to any potential operator which does not meet the regulatory requirements, if we do, we run the risk of contravening our international obligation to the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Should GAC still have an interest in Guyana, I encourage them to engage the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority to complete the application process for the AOC because making baseless claim about the government is a futile exercise.

Based on the above, I am interested in finding out ‘what is being sold?’ A name!

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