The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) will be launching an investigation into a report of stray animals traversing the runway at the Lethem Airstrip in Region Nine.
The issue was highlighted in the Stabroek News letter column yesterday by Clairmonte Lye, who cited several instances where the presence of the stray animals has affected landings.
“…The problem is even graver when animals invade the runway and taxiways of the Lethem airport on almost a daily basis. For instance, just last week, there were about five horses on the runway, causing the aircraft to overshoot the runway. Three days later horses tried to enter the compound just as a plane was taxiing for takeoff,” he wrote.
He further noted that the issue is not restricted to the actions of the stray animals but also those of residents who continue to breach the fence surrounding the airstrip, using the runway as a shortcut.
“On at least one occasion, a motorcyclist breached the fence and rode up the runway, totally unaware that a plane was on final approach to land.
The plane had to overshoot and land after the runway was clear,” Lye added.
Stabroek News was told that the situation is not a new one and as stated by Lye in his letter, it is compounded by the acts of “irresponsible residents” who would destroy the fence to access a shortcut to and from the Culvert City housing area. Attempts to seek answers from Mayor of Lethem Carlton Beckles were unsuccessful as he declined to comment on the issue.
However, Director of the GCAA Lt. Col. (Rtd) Egbert Fields, in an invited comment, noted that though he was not aware of the situation, he will have the claims investigated by the agency.
Once the reports are verified and proven to be legitimate, Fields said the GCCA will endeavour to address the issue with the assistance of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.