Remarks by the Hon. Deodat Indar, Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, at the Conference on International Air Transport Cooperation 2022

(Incheon, Republic of Korea)

Good morning, all,

It gives me great pleasure to be in the Republic of Korea today and to provide brief congratulatory remarks to the Conference on International Air Transport Cooperation 2022 under the theme, ‘LEAP FORWARD TO BETTER SKIES’

The President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana H.E President Dr. Irfaan Ali sends his best wishes to the People of Korea.

Bilateral and multilateral cooperation is an integral part of Guyana’s developmental strategy. In aviation, as a testament to this fact, we have more than 50 Air Services Agreements, and we are party to two Multilateral Air Services Agreements.

Guyana’s policy for negotiating air services agreements is to grant up to 5th freedom traffic rights for passenger traffic and up to 7th freedom for all cargo traffic. Cooperation runs deep within the DNA and structure of our economy. 

The Covid-19 Pandemic has created darkness for our otherwise blue skies. The last two years have been nothing but economic troubles for the global economy – every sector of our globe has been affected.

Today we all face a common threat and enemy of:

• Rising cost of fuel

• Rising cost of shipping

• Supply chain interruptions

• Food Security Challenges

•  And Climate Change

These common challenges highlight the importance of bilateral and multilateral cooperation which are needed now to be stronger over the next few decades as we leap forward to better skies.

One lesson from the pandemic is that ‘traffic in the skies’ is an economic generator of wealth thru jobs and trade. Over the last two years, ICAO‘s analysis showed global air passenger traffic declined by 60% in 2020 when benchmarked against 2019, 49% down in 2021 against 2019 records, and 21% – 24% in the first half of 2022 when compared to 2019 travel data issued by ICAO.

In Guyana, international traffic declined by 72% in 2020 and 47% in 2021 against 2019 records but fortunately, we are recovering much faster than the industry, and as of May 2022, we are 95% of the pre-pandemic passenger numbers; and we expect to close 2022 with 5% more passengers than in 2019.

Guyana’s domestic aviation sector experienced a 46% and 30% drop in passenger movements in 2020 and 2021 respectively when compared to 2019.

On the Freight (cargo) side traffic remained relatively unaffected during the last two years for Guyana. Better skies will mean closer cooperation to get back to pre-pandemic levels of growth.

The Government of Guyana sees the aviation industry as very robust, and in anticipation of its rapid growth, we are continuing to invest in this sector. While we have just completed the expansion of our main airport, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA); works have already started on the design of a new terminal building and cold storage and packaging facility.

The threat of the Covid-19 pandemic is easing in Guyana, but we must still cooperate on other fronts in dealing with the ever-present threat of Climate Change.

According to ICAO, both international and domestic aviation combined contributes approximately 2.1 % of global CO2 emissions or 915 million Tonnes of Co2. The Aviation sector is responsible for 12% of Co2 emissions from all transport sources.

Without interventions, the impact of aviation on the climate will continue to increase over time with negative effects such as changing weather patterns and increased torrential rainfalls. This will lead to loss of airport capacity and infrastructure due to sea-level rise, network disruptions and adverse effects on aircraft performance due to more extreme temperature changes.

We must act now and swiftly! As the Aviation sector globally employs 11.3 million people and transports 4.5 billion passengers as recorded in 2019.

The benefit of cooperation is seen through the example of Guyana. My country, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana continues to press on despite challenges.

The Guyana government is pursuing a Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030. The LCDS is essentially a transformative Low Carbon design of our economy.

Guyana’s 18 million hectares of forest cover has the capacity to store 19.5Gt of CO2 and the aim is to maintain 99.5% of this forest as a global asset. Guyana’s LCDS 2030 has four (4) objectives which are focused on;

1. Forest Climate Services and Other Ecosystems Services.

2. Stimulate Future growth through clean energy and sustainable economic activities

3. Protect Against Climate Change

4. Align Guyana with Global Climate Goals, in this area, Guyana will be an advocate internationally for a strong global carbon price and the removal of subsidies on fossil fuels.

Leaping forward will require us all to enhance technical cooperation across the full range of civil aviation activities, with a focus on sustainable development AND WHERE Collaboration can help guide and promote further global aviation recovery.

Strengthening technical cooperation in civil aviation can foster improved social and economic conditions as well as help foster improved relations among countries.

Partnerships in areas such as human resource capacity building, infrastructure services and environmental protection which all of these can strengthen relations on both the institutional and on a country level.

Guyana is ready and always willing for deeper dialogue and increased technical and inter-regional cooperation with the Republic of Korea.

Guyana’s economic growth is projected to be at an exceptional rate of 47.5% in 2022 and we intend to ensure that some of this economic prosperity be used to fuel transformation in the aviation industry.

We must recover and build resilience together as we leap forward to better skies.

On behalf of the People of Guyana, I wish to congratulate the People of the Republic of Korea for hosting the CONFERENCE ON INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT COOPERATION 2022 (CIAT2022) and congratulations on being a member of ICAO for 70 years.

I wish you all great success.

Thank you.