Civil aviation to submit findings on Ogle airport fuel standoff

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is expected to submit a report today on its findings into last month’s gate crashing incident at Ogle airport along with recommendations regarding the use of fuel at the airport.

Following the incident, in which a senior official attached to domestic airline Air Services Inc (ASL) rammed the gate leading to the airport with a truck laden with fuel—after the airline was not permitted by security to enter the airport—there had been on-going discussions between the airport’s management, the airline and the Transport Ministry even though similar stand-offs continue.

The GCAA was mandated to carry out investigations by the Transport Ministry into the incident and those investigations centred on the sale of fuel and the use of fuel for private use by airlines at the aerodrome.

As regards the actual crashing of the gate, a source within the sector noted yesterday that while the incident does not fall under the purview of the GCAA, the body will pronounce on the issue, and more particularly measures which can be implemented to prevent a repeat of the incident. At the same time, the police would have to answer queries regarding that aspect of the incident, the source noted. To date, the police have said nothing regarding the incident.

An official at Ogle Airport Incorporated (OAI), the airport’s management, noted yesterday that the body made a formal complaint to the police after the incident. ASL‘s patriarch Yacoob Ally had also stated at a press conference recently that the airline had lodged a statement on the issue with the Sparendaam Police station.

Transport Minister Robeson Benn met with the management of the airport, as well as the administrators of ASL at separate meetings while there had been on-going discussions which were said to be fruitful.

The ongoing situation began three weeks ago, when an executive of the airline, who was identified as Captain Mazahar Ally by Ogle airport management, proceeded to drive into the gates at Ogle after a stand-off with security escalated.

ASL noted subsequently that it decided to purchase its own fuel from the United States to cut back on costs. The airline, which said its imported fuel was being handled in accordance with the relevant safety regulations, noted that it spends more than $80M per month on fuel purchases from CAMS.

At a recent stand-off between the two parties at Ogle, airport spokesman Kit Nascimento stated that ASL has not applied or written to the management of the airport for the requisite permission to date. ASL’s safety officer Fazel Khan later stated that the airline was calling on the government to intervene as soon as possible in order to resolve the “stagnant” situation. He said that the management of the airport was calling on the airline to apply for a fuel handling agent certificate but he noted that ASL‘s aim is to handle fuel for its own operations.

ASL wrote the Caribbean Aviation Maintenance Services (CAMS), which is operated by the Correias, on several aspects of the matter, including operating as a fuel handler, Khan stated. He expressed hope that the matter does not escalate, while reiterating his call for the government to intervene urgently.

Meantime, sources at Ogle noted yesterday that CAMS, the designated fuel retailing entity at the airport, has since dropped the price of aviation gas and an airline source noted that the move was good for the industry.

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