Stranded Dynamic passengers expect to start leaving today

A Dynamic Airways aircraft at Timehri (File Photo)

Passengers travelling with Dynamic Airways are expected to depart this morning after being stranded for several days in light of a backlog caused by mechanical failure last Friday.

Scores of frustrated passengers were left stranded at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York over the weekend after one of Dynamic’s aircraft was grounded due to mechanical failure last Friday.

Stabroek News understands that Dynamic has since been forced to prioritize the passengers who would have missed their flight due to the delay on Saturday which has now resulted in the current backlog of passengers.

Adding to their already mounting frustration was, what Stabroek News understands, to be the lack of information provided to the passengers by the airline.

Meanwhile, the airline’s local handler Captain Gerry Gouveia in an invited comment said that the situation is expected to be fully resolved today as the airline has begun running on a circuit between Guyana and New York. He further noted that passengers could look forward to a normal flight schedule from today.

This was also confirmed by personnel at the CJIA who told this newspaper that a Dynamic Airways flight is scheduled for 9 am today.

Nevertheless, Gouveia wished to clarify the situation which was caused as a result of a backlog that arose in wake of the aircraft having experienced mechanical failure over the weekend, and not as a result of delays in the flight.

Also commenting on the issue was Director of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Colonel Egbert Fields who told Stabroek News that the agency will be writing to the operators of the airline on the issue, especially since both parties had met earlier this year to discuss similar issues.

“We had met with them earlier this year and had urged them to put things in place to have orderly flights for passengers to ensure that they do not have to suffer these long delays and they had promised to look at, and implement some measures,” the Director said.

However, with the current situation, Fields said the GCAA will be taking another look at the company to see if enough was done to rectify these deficiencies.

Dynamic Airways, which entered the Guyana market in June, 2014, filed for bankruptcy late last month.  Prior to that, the airline had been fined US$120,000 (G$25M) by the United States Department of Transportation (DoT) for failure to provide prompt refunds to passengers after flight cancellations, and failure to promptly notify passengers of the cancellations.

Documents seen by this newspaper revealed that the airline was served with a consent order from the DoT, which stated that Dynamic’s failure to promptly notify passengers of flight cancellations violated the cease and desist provision made in March 2016.

Further, the order directed Dynamic to cease and desist from future violations of the aforementioned regulations and statutes and Order, and assessed the carrier a compromise civil penalty of US$120,000.

“Based on a significant increase of consumer complaints filed with the Department’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division against Dynamic in 2016, the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings (Enforcement Office) conducted an investigation of these complaints and found that in many instances, Dynamic failed to provide refunds in a timely manner to passengers affected by cancelled flights, as is required,” the order stated.

It was further noted that in numerous cases, consumers had to wait for months to receive a refund. Similarly, the Enforcement Office also found that in several cases, Dynamic violated section 380.12(b) by failing to provide written notice to passengers after cancellations more than ten days out of their return flights.

As a result, some passengers arrived at airports and were forced to purchase separate tickets from other airlines at the last minute.

As a certificated carrier, Dynamic is required to comply with the Department’s reporting requirements.

“During 2016, Dynamic consistently failed to file in a timely manner applicable monthly and quarterly financial reports with the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics as required by Sections 23-25 of Part 241,” the order stated.

 

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