Government is in talks with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to negotiate a an air service agreement that will see at least one of the territory’s three major flag carriers operating flights to Guyana in the near future.
On Tuesday, a delegation from the UAE met with local officials in the conference room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a report from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said.
The local delegation comprised Zulfikar Mohamed, Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Hugh Denbow, GCAA Board Chairman, Amanza Desir, GCAA General Counsel, Saheed Sulaman, Air Transport Officer from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation, Alvin Majeed, Senior Aerodrome Officer and Trishala Persaud, Senior Legal Adviser at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
The team from UAE comprised Federal Government, Director General Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Air Transport Agreements Chief Specialist Valerie Browne and from the Department of Transport- Abu Dhabi, Senior Analyst-Govern-ment Affairs Saeed Al Suwaidi.
GINA said Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn formally opened discussions and expressed government’s pleasure at having the opportunity for the negotiation and the signing of an air service agreement to foster better linkages between the two countries. He also noted that the dialogue comes at a time when Guyana’s aviation sector at the domestic, regional and international level is expanding.
“There are opportunities, via Guyana, we expect and we intend for foreign countries and air service operators to use Guyana as a regional and international hub for the development of the aviation sector, and for the development of other economical and tourism and other linkages between the continents and specifically between the countries like Guyana and the United Arab Emirates,” he said.
In his opening remarks, Mohamed Al Suwaidi noted that it would have taken the UAE’s delegation days to travel to Guyana. “So the need to connect your country to our region is very important,” he was quoted as saying. He also reaffirmed his government’s openness to engage with the Guyana Government on any future engagement in the aviation sector.
The UAE has close to 30 airlines, with the largest three being the Emirate Airline, Air Arabia and Etihad Airways. Emirate Airline is the largest in the Middle East, operating nearly 3,400 flights per week from its hub at Dubai International Airport to more than 133 cities in 74 countries across six continents.
Air Arabia is a low-cost airline with its head office in the Sharjah Freight Center, Sharjah Inter-national Airport, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. It operates sche-duled services to 51 destinations in the Middle East, North Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and Europe to 22 countries from Sharjah, 28 destinations in 9 countries from Casablanca, Fez, Nador, Tangier and Marrakesh and 6 destinations in 4 countries from Alexandria. Its main base is Sharjah International Airport.
Etihad Airways, the flag carrier airline of the United Arab Emirates operates more than 1,000 flights per week to 96 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas, with a fleet of 85 Airbus and -Boeing -aircraft.