The inequity in the composition of the Ogle Airport board constitutes an unfair business practice

Dear Editor,
I wish to respond to Mr Christopher Correia’s letter (‘CAMS has no wish to exercise a monopoly over the supply of aviation fuel at Ogle’ SN, September 2) on the chronology of Caribbean Aviation Maintenance Services Limited (CAMS) becoming the designated fuel handling agent at Ogle Airport.

In 2001, when the Government of Guyana leased state land to the Ogle Airport Authority (OAI) in good faith for the development of the aviation industry, and before ASL was unceremoniously ejected from the OAI board, it was decided that four sites were to be allotted for four fuel farms at the aerodrome. This was in keeping with the norm in any properly run airport where a monopoly on fuel supply is deemed inimical to the aerodrome’s efficient operation and development.

By 2008, on a map in the development plan for the airport, the caption for the area originally allocated for those fuel farms (plural) had been changed to read “reserved for fuel farm” (singular). In the most recent map, in 2011, the caption has been changed yet again to now read “reserved for ancillary services.”

Since, as Mr Correia pointed out, his family-owned Caribbean Aviation Maintenance Services (CAMS) has been managing the supply of all aviation products for the past 16 years at Ogle, the change in labelling to the area allotted for four fuel farms in 2001, to the present “ancillary services” designation, would indicate the area is now reserved for ancillary services to the Correia-owned CAMS.

The “unusual surge in the acquisition of turbine engine aircraft particularly by Air Services Limited which brought the first of their seven Caravans in 2007,” as referred to by Mr Correia, was simply the result of a fundamental business decision by ASL to replace our older fuel-inefficient piston-engine aircraft with the far more economical turbine-engine Cessna Caravans.
Then and now, the direct consequence of this decision is that our customers are able to charter these aircraft to transport their cargo at a fraction of the cost per pound compared to the piston-engine planes we once relied on exclusively.

Indeed if our expansion had not been strategically stymied by the OAI refusal to grant us additional land at the airport, ASL would have an even larger turbine fleet than is the case today.

ASL welcomes Mr Correia’s assertion that CAMS has no wish to exercise a monopoly over the supply of aviation fuel at Ogle airport. A monopolistic fuel operation has the clear potential for business interruption, as was the case on August 12, 2011, when CAMS refused to sell fuel to Air Services Ltd.

It is for this reason that ASL supports the government’s decision to import aviation fuel from Venezuela, and we would enthusiastically welcome the services of Guyoil as a fuel distributor at Ogle so that aircraft operators would have a choice and no longer be at the mercy of a single operator.

In the overall, there is a clear inequity in the composition of the six-member OAI board, now unevenly constituted with representation by three members of one family, which also decides, inter alia, on who is allowed to sell aviation fuel at Ogle. This situation constitutes an unfair business practice, which must be rectified so that Guyoil, or any other company interested in becoming a fuel handler at Ogle, is not faced with insurmountable barriers.
Yours faithfully,
Annette Arjoon-Martins
Flight Operations Supt
Air Services Limited

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