Roraima Airways plays a significant role in the growth of the Guyanese economy, as a provider of travel services to tourists and commercial clients – offering foreign businessmen a convivial environment within which to do business in Guyana. As the company marks its 20th anniversary Managing Director Gerald Gouveia reflects on its growth: “Over the past two decades we have been putting our business modules together. Now we are able to say that there is no other company in the Caribbean that can provide such synergised and vertically integrated travel and tourism services.”
The Roraima boss has served as Head of various private sector forums, including the Tourism & Hospitality Association of Guyana, the George-town Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Private Sector Commission. He has also had a long career in aviation, having served as a pilot with the Guyana Defence Force then as a pilot with a large Canadian mining company, Gold Star Resources. He also served as Chief Pilot and Air Operations Manager of the Civil Aviation Authority and Air Services Limited.
At the helm of Roraima Airways, Capt. Gouveia and his wife and business partner, Capt. Debbie Gouveia, have built a small charter airline into a multi-service entity that includes a fleet of aircraft, two hotels, a nature resort and other auxiliary services. When the company started out in 1992, it was initially providing charter flights around Guyana, South America and the Caribbean, typically for executive clients. It has now evolved into an integrated travel company.
Accommodating foreign investors
“It was the changes in Guyana that inspired my vision to establish Roraima Airways in 1992, with the aim of creating a first rate travel and tourism conglomerate that could capitalise on the significant changes that were occurring to the economy, as well as those that were occurring on the foreign policy front – and Guyana’s new relationship with Brazil and Western democracies in particular,” recalls Capt. Gouveia. “We have been able to put together an entire circle of services. We can then fly you out to your mining sites, logging sites, tourism spots; we can put you in a boat and take you to a resort for relaxation. When it is time for you to leave, you can go through our own check in counter and sit in our executive lounge at the airport.”
Roraima Airways is one of the five shareholders in the new Ogle International Airport, located just outside Georgetown. The company’s additional services include ground services, at both the Ogle International and Cheddi Jagan International airports that include ramp services to such reputable airlines as North American Airlines, Zoom Airlines, and, most recently, Delta Airlines.