CJIA netted $208M surplus last year – CEO

-marks 10th anniversary of incorporation

The Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri (CJIA) raked in a surplus of $208M last year and CEO Ramesh Ghir said it is being ploughed into sustaining its operations.

Ghir was at the time addressing a gathering of airport staff, aviation sector stakeholders and the media at the CJIA’s Maintenance Division compound as the airport celebrated its 10th anniversary of being incorporated as a semi-autonomous body.

He said that in 2010, revenue collection stood at $633M and rose to $748M last year while the surplus rose from $123M in 2010 to $280M last year. The surplus, he noted, will be used to further enhance the operations of the airport as well as offset costs associated with the development.

Ghir explained that the management of the airport has worked assiduously over the past decade to build the airport’s image to one that is recognised in the region as being of a professional brand.

The ribbon cutting for the bus shed. CJIA CEO Ramesh Ghir is second from right.

He added that the CJIA recorded a number of pluses over the years, including the resurfacing of the main runway, the installation of a new runway lighting system, introduction of a computerised identification card system as well as several other initiatives aimed at enhancing its image.

He said that with the expansion project which will be undertaken by a Chinese firm, the CJIA will be able to reach its full potential. He said passenger figures, including tourist arrivals, have peaked in recent years.

Ghir made special mention of the arrival of low carrier REDjet to the travel market here, saying that the airline has played a critical role in providing the opportunity for many persons to travel for the first time and reducing the cost of air fares within the region. REDjet moved 15% of 47,000 passengers who left here last year and Ghir added that the airline was gaining market share as it expanded its routes.

The airline suspended its operations last month and is currently in talks with several Caribbean governments to have its operations back in the sky.

Ramesh Dookhoo, who assumed the chairmanship of the CJIA board last year, told the gathering that the new board is trying to build on the achievements of its predecessor. He said that over the past 10 years, the CJIA has moved from a scrappy airport that saw many “uncontrolled activities” to a professional port of entry with services to accommodate the most sophisticated of travellers.

Dookhoo acknowledged the doubt over whether the current facility can take the airport into the future, adding that in the private sector there is general recognition that travel to and from Guyana is inadequate, regardless of how the scenario is examined.
He, however, said that the CJIA board, the airport’s management and government have been researching international developments and added that the country is attracting new interest to its economy, including in related sectors such as tourism.

At the same time, he noted that several areas need to be examined where the airport is considered, including the affordability of a competitive price of fuel for all new players in the local travel market. He mentioned ongoing talks between the government and potential players, such as the JetBlue airline and Air Canada.

Dookhoo also touched on the performance of the travel market regionally, noting that Caribbean Airlines’ takings off the travel market in Guyana fell to 55% recently and according to him, competition is good for the regional market.


Meantime, Transport Minister Robeson Benn said that the management of the CJIA has exceeded its operations within the past 10 years. He said that the bar has been set high, noting that the CJIA is today an international  facility which he described as one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean.

He said that discussions are ongoing as regards the expansion of the known capacity of the airport. “The only way it can be done and we have to look ahead for the next 50 years, is to put in place the new facility we have spoken of in respect of a new airport terminal building and an extension of the runway,” he said.

Benn stated that recent figures have indicated that there is a 27% increase in passenger arrivals to Guyana for the first quarter of the year.
He said that the trend is anticipated to continue, and according to him, the government remains committed to ensuring development and sustainability of the sector.

Recently, the National Assembly approved estimates for sums allocated towards the airport expansion project which will be undertaken by Chinese engineering company China Harbour and Engineering Company (CHEC).

Benn stated that the government was caught off guard on the day of the signing last September, when mention was made of the agreement reached with CHEC in the Jamaican media. He said that the government was on the back foot at the time as regards entering into the agreement.
He explained that the government had a “very narrow window in September last year when a Chinese vice-premier travelled through the Caribbean with several billion dollars in money to fund projects and it was the only opportunity we  had then to fund the undertaking.” He said that government was able to take advantage and make use of the funding.

Meantime, residents of Timehri yesterday expressed appreciation to the CJIA management, following the unveiling of a bus shed which will be for their benefit. Ghir stated that the venture, which was undertaken following an accident on the road last year, was part of the airport’s social responsibilities as a corporate entity.

More in Local News

default placeholder

Oil drilling likely in five years

Country Manager of Exxon Mobil Corporation, Jeff Simons today reaffirmed that the company will not start the actual extraction of oil from its huge offshore well for another five years.

default placeholder

Alzarri Joseph called up for Test duty

ST.JOHN’s, Antigua, CMC-Promising Antiguan fast bowler Alzarri Joseph is set to make his Test debut after he was drafted into the West Indies side for the current home series against India.

default placeholder

Caribbean series hopes to crack US market with T20 foray

(Reuters) – Chris Gayle and Shane Watson need no introductions in cricket-playing countries but while they are unlikely to become household names in the U.S.

Renee McDonald

Chair of Bid Protest Committee resigns

Chairperson of the recently-established Bid Protest Committee (BPC) Renee McDonald has resigned even as the body’s first case—Cevons Waste Management’s protest against the Ministry of Communities over the award of a $221M Haags Bosch landfill maintenance contract—awaits a decision.

default placeholder

Main suspect in Black Bush triple murder held, owns shotgun

The main suspect in the Black Bush triple murder has been held and he is the owner of the same type of weapon that inflicted the deadly wounds.

Shane Mc Almont

Two charged with killing missing miner

Just two days after severed body parts suspected to belong to Mahdia miner Shawn Clarke were discovered, two men were charged in a city court with his murder.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: