Though they have announced their intention to begin operations in Guyana in December this year, major US carrier American Airlines (AA) has not yet formally sought permission from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
This is according to Director General of the GCAA, Lt. Col. (Ret’d) Egbert Field who told Stabroek News yesterday that though they are yet to formally engage the local aviation body, the GCAA is open to entertaining the company’s application.
“Yours news is just as much news to me…They have not approached the authority as yet but we will be open to entertaining their application whenever they are ready to do so,” Field said.
In what will be a major boost to airlift here, AA yesterday announced it was beginning flights to Guyana in December. The announcement seemed to have taken key decision-makers by surprise.
The airline said that starting on December 20 its new service between Miami and Guyana will be operated four times per week, increasing to daily during the summer season in 2019. Tickets will go on sale from April 2.
It will service the route with an Airbus A319 which can carry up to 160 passengers.
The announcement has been welcomed by the government here.
According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), reacting to the news, Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson said, “I am delighted that American Airlines will commence flying to Guyana in December. This will coincide with the launch of the newly expanded Cheddi Jagan International Airport and demonstrates a confidence in Destination Guyana not only as a desirable tourist destination but as an emerging oil economy as well. The government has been working at various levels to provide more options to travellers to and from Guyana, to North America, with increased airlift, and American Airlines’ commitment to destination Guyana is a recognition of government’s work since coming into office in 2015.”
According to DPI, for his part, Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin noted that “this is good for tourism, good for business and good for Guyana. Only last week LIAT announced direct flights to POS from ECIA (Ogle) so this will give Guyanese and visitors to Guyana two additional travel options in this year alone.”
The American Airlines decision will see a major US-based carrier running direct flights here.
Delta Airlines pulled out in 2013.
AA in a statement issued on its website yesterday said that it will be adding three new South American destinations, to its already expansive routes.
“American Airlines has a rich and robust history serving Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America (MCLA). And American is continuing to grow its presence in the region with the addition of four new destinations. Next winter, customers looking for history, culture and warm climate will have access to three new cities in South America: Georgetown, Guyana (GEO); Pereira, Colombia (PEI) and Cordoba, Argentina (COR); and one new city in Mexico: Oaxaca (OAX),” the statement said.
In addition, the airline will be introducing a service to Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE), from its West Coast hub at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), making American the first and only airline to offer nonstop service between these two major cities.
“We’re creating a world-class customer experience and as the largest U.S. carrier in Mexico and South America, we are committed to offering more choices with the best schedules for our customers in the region,” said Vasu Raja, vice president, Network and Schedule Planning. “As we look to strengthen our network, we’re excited to add more nonstop flights to places like Buenos Aires, maximizing connections across our network,” the statement added.
The emergence of an oil and gas industry is likely a key factor in the airline’s decision to fly here.