The quality of passenger service by the various service agencies operating out of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri is “in urgent need of considerable improvement” if visitor arrivals to Guyana are to increase, according to a local aviation official.
“The present state of affairs is particularly unsatisfactory. In fact, I would say that travelling through Timehri can often amount to a hassle,” the official said.
And according to the source the local Airport Authority has been slow to take action to improve the quality of service.
“Customs and immigration officials at the airport are often both unpleasant and unhelpful and very often, it is the attitude of these officials as much as some of the ‘expected inconveniences’ of air travel that makes life difficult for passengers. Poor customer service is particularly pronounced during early morning travel when many officials attached to the service agencies appear to be in a bad mood,” the official said.
The official told Stabroek Business that the quality of the customer service at Timehri bodes ill for the country’s tourist industry. “Apart from the fact that first-time visitors will probably not want to return as a result of the airport experience, the bad news about the quality of service will spread.”
Considerably heightened security at international airports in recent years has also affected Timehri and the official conceded that those measures were necessary in the light of travel-related crimes including drug trafficking, backtracking and forged passports, The official pointed out that apart from the various layers of official security that had been put in place at Timehri, airlines had recruited local security firms to institute their own security checks prior to boarding. The official told Stabroek Business that the move by airlines to institute their own security checks on passengers and baggage leaving Guyana had resulted from the stringent regulations set by the United States Government and the high fines imposed whenever security breaches were unearthed. Both the United States and Canada have sent officials to Guyana to conduct training for airport officials.
And in an implicit criticism of the security searches carried out by the state officials the official said that most of the discoveries of illegalities by outbound passengers were made by the private security organizations working for the airlines. “The fact is that their checks are more thorough since any slippage could prove costly for the airline.,” the official said.