Fly Jamaica can wing in once US approves – Mohammed

Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Zulficar Mohammed confirmed yesterday that Fly Jamaica has met all of the Government of Guyana requirements, including the lodgement of the $40 million bond and is ready from the Guyana end to commence operation.

However, he said the airline is still awaiting clearance from the United States’ authorities to commence its operation between the US and Guyana.

“We are still waiting to hear from them,” he said when contacted by Stabroek News yesterday. “They have to get their US approval and then they can start [operating],” he said.

“The bond is already with the Ministry of Works. So there is no hindrance from this side of it,” Mohammed said.

It was reported by this newspaper that Mohammed had said the operations would have commenced by the end of July.

In early June, Cabinet gave approval for Fly Jamaica to operate its service from Guyana to New York and Toronto. However, this approval was contingent on the airline meeting all financial and technical requirements, including the lodging of a $40 million bond.

Mohammed had stated some months ago that the bond of $40 million was not adequate in the event the airline ran into trouble and passengers had to be refunded. He noted that this figure had not been sufficient to address the plight of the EZjet passengers, who were left high and dry when that airline ceased operations because of issues with its owner.

Approval at the Guyana end for Fly Jamaica to operate came after the standard evaluation procedures were carried out by the GCAA and a recommendation made to Cabinet by Minister Benn.

Jamaica-based Fly Jamaica was started by two aviation entrepreneurs – Guyanese Captain Ronald Reece of Wings Aviation, and his Jamaican business partner Captain Lloyd Tai.

Following the collapse of EZjet owing to charges being laid against its main investor and the pull out of Delta Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, LIAT and Suriname Airways were the carriers still flying to Guyana. However, Caribbean Airlines, which was granted flag carrier status, was the only one servicing the Toronto and New York routes.

Repeated efforts over several weeks to reach Fly Jamaica for an update on the commencement of its service from Guyana proved futile. However, its website lists Guyana as a destination. Some weeks ago Guyana was listed as TBC (to be confirmed).

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