After serving the Guyana-New York route since the middle of 2014, the troubled Dynamic Airways is ending flights here, leaving questions about refunds to persons still holding tickets.
The departure from the Guyana market was yesterday confirmed by its local representative, Captain Gerry Gouveia, of Roraima Airways Limited. Up to press time, there was no official statement from Dynamic, which had attracted large numbers of passengers because of its lower fares.
Gouveia assured that the airline would honour its obligations as it would have communicated this much with him.
“I am still awaiting official word from them but yes they will be pulling out of the market,” Gouveia told Stabroek News yesterday.
“They have given the obligation to take care of their passengers and obligations and leave the market in good [standing],” he added, before stressing that he believed the company to be an honourable one.
He said that he understands that the airline has two other flights before its exit. For the past few weeks, there were reports that the airline would have stopped flying to this destination and earlier yesterday it was confirmed by Gouveia on his Facebook page.
“I am sorry to see Dynamic Go! It’s unfortunate but it’s totally outside of Roraima [sic] Control. Dynamic is required by law to refund the passengers that are holding tickets. Passengers affected should contact their travel agents,” Gouveia wrote on his Facebook page.
“I would like to say `Thank you’ to the persons who stood by us `thank you’ for the encouragement and support over the past 4 years. Lots of times over the past 25 years we at Roraima got it right. But a few times we got it wrong. It’s never easy to see young people out of a job,” he further stated in the post.
“We at Roraima will continue to work harder every day to contribute to making Guyana a better place,” it added.
The North Carolina-based Dynamic Airways is changing its focus to an Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance operation.
No official word yet
Stabroek News understands that Dynamic has listed all tickets for flights after October 2 as sold out. Several travel agencies that would usually take bookings for Dynamic Airways have stopped selling tickets, even as they await official word from the airline.
Like Gouveia, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has not heard from the airline on its exit or other plans.
“GCAA has not been officially notified of Dynamic’s intentions. What I can tell you is that their permit to operate will expire on the 28th of October, acting Director General of the GCAA, Saheed Sulaman said when contacted.
Sulaman explained that the agency learned of Dynamic’s planned exit through the local press and has since written the airline to clarify what its plans are. Up to press time yesterday, the GCAA had not received a reply.
As it pertains to the issue of refunds to passengers who booked flights post October 2nd, the acting GCAA head pointed out that it currently holds a US$200,000 bond for the airline.
“The airline has a bond in place to address passengers …should Dynamic fail to honour that obligation,” Sulaman said when asked about the process in place. In some previous cases, the bond has not been sufficient to cover all outstanding tickets.
With representatives from its United States office flying in for the occasion, Dynamic last June boasted about the training of an additional 25 flight attendants for its service. It would have brought the total number of local attendants employed to 49. It is unclear what will happen to those attendants.
For the years it has serviced the Guyana-New York route, Dynamic, while ferrying large number of passengers, has experienced major delays and problems with aircraft etc.
In July this year, Dynamic filed for bankruptcy. A statement had said that a voluntary Chapter 11 petition was filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Middle District of North Carolina, Greensboro Division. The decision to file followed litigation matters resulting from Hajj flights the airline operated in 2014 for Air India as well as the entry of a judgment in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina affirming an arbitration award against Dynamic issued by the Canadian Arbitration Association in April 2017.
The April decision determined that Dynamic was in breach of contract by failing to pay commissions to BKP Enterprises in connection with the Hajj flights. In April the airline, was fined US$120,000 by the United States Department of Transportation for failure to promptly notify passengers of flight cancellations. This failure violated a cease and desist provision made in March, 2016.
The April order, seen by Stabroek News, directed Dyna-mic to cease and desist from future violations of the regulations and statutes, 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 Enforce-ment 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.
In December last year, over 600 passengers were delayed at both the JFK Airport in New York and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri after two Dynamic Airways planes encountered problems.