Airports likely to reopen on July 1
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…GCAA will target international workers, diplomats, stranded Guyanese first

THE Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is working towards the phased re-opening of international travel, commencing July 1, 2020, first catering to persons such as international workers, diplomats and stranded Guyanese and subsequently to visitors.

This information was shared by Director- General of the GCAA, Lt. Col. (Ret’d) Egbert Field, at a GCAA-hosted webinar on Monday dubbed “Path to Clear Skies”.

Present were the Regional Director of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO); representatives from International Air Transport Association (IATA); representatives from American Airlines, LIAT and Caribbean Airlines; representatives from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and Eugene F. Correia (Ogle) International Airport; Director General (DG) of Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) and a number of other international agencies.

In an interview with the newspaper, Field explained: “Limited international flights for international workers, diplomats — we’re looking at that — and increased repatriation flights because we’ll be doing that for some time down the road because there are so many Guyanese that are stranded out there. We hope that by August we’ll be able to open a little more to have visitors from foreign lands.”

At the meeting, American Airlines proposed that it would be able to resume flights to Guyana out of Miami beginning July 7, 2020. However, they will not be able to facilitate flights out of New York until December, due to various constraints.

“You just can’t re-open the door like that. It’s like a car, you have to warm it up, they have to get their operations wound up slowly, slowly. Bring back the aircraft; do the checks on those aircraft before they even put them out there to fly; the pilots who were furloughed or where ever, you have to bring them back batch by batch and put them through recurrent training before they release them out there, and they cannot do all that in one go,” Field said.

LIAT and Caribbean Airlines are also working to phase in continuous travel once again, and will conduct their operations to other countries until Guyana re-opens for regional travel.

Back in May, Field had told the newspaper that the GCAA was examining the re-opening of its airports through a four-phase programme. The said timeline has since been approved by the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF).

Phase One has been deemed as the planning stage which includes stakeholder engagement; Phase Two is the implementation phase and re-opening to regional travel; Phase Three is the re-opening to international travel and Phase Four will extend into 2021.

The GCAA Director-General said that Monday’s stakeholder engagement webinar falls within Phase One and more deliberations are to come. Through the process, Guyana will be ensuring that all stakeholders are aware of its Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and the regulations which will be put in place to enforce them.

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