Minister of State, Joseph Harmon yesterday said that Government has mandated the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to ramp up checks and inspections of aircraft and facilities following another fatal plane crash yesterday. (See other story on page 3.)
A statement from the Ministry of the Presidency expressed condolences to the relatives and friends of Captain Imran Khan who perished earlier yesterday after the Air Services Limited Cessna 206 aircraft he was operating crashed in Potaro-Siparuni (Region Eight). He was the only person on board.
Harmon noted that it was the third plane crash in less than two months and the Government was deeply concerned.
“We have asked the Director of Civil Aviation for there to be more frequent levels of inspection of these aircrafts, of the pilots and the facilities they use to ensure that there is a higher level of safety in these operations. We, as a small country, cannot continue to lose young men in the prime of their lives to accidents. We are calling on the Director to increase [the] level of investigation and oversight over all of the operators to ensure that the serviceability of these aircrafts are checked, that the time and hours of the pilots, which they fly must also be checked and this must not just be a one off check but a regular check and also time and again, what we call ramp checks [random checks],” the Minister of State said.
Harmon said in the statement that safety is a major concern for the administration and it is for this reason that the Government has been spending large amounts in the development of airstrips, particularly those located in the hinterland.
“We have expended quite a sum of money on the conditions of our hinterland airstrips. In the 2016 and 2017 Budgets, huge sums of monies were allocated for the development of these airstrips out of these concerns not only for the pilots themselves but for the passengers that they carry.
We want to see a safe aviation industry so that the people who have to use these aircrafts, that there must be a very safe corridor,” he noted.
Harmon said, “On behalf of the Government I wish to express our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Imran Khan. The entire administration wishes to express its bereavement to the family. We would also like to send our condolences to the crew of the Air Services Limited and to the pilots. I know it is a sad time for the company,” he said.