– Minister Indar tells air transport conference, plugs cooperation with Republic of Korea
THE local aviation sector has been recovering faster than the rate of the rest of the world following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar.
During his remarks to delegates of the Conference on International Air Transport Cooperation in Incheon, Republic of Korea, Minister Indar said the pandemic has taught the world that ‘traffic in the skies’ is an economic generator of wealth through jobs and trade.
He said the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), through an analysis, revealed that global air-passenger traffic declined by some 60 per cent in 2020 when compared to the previous year.
Traffic was also down some 49 per cent in 2021 when compared to 2019, and from 21 to 24 per cent in the first half of 2022 when compared to 2019.
Minister Indar told the gathering that in Guyana, however, traffic declined by 72 per cent in 2020 and 47 per cent in 2021 in comparison to 2019. The country’s aviation sector has since bounced back.
Indar said, “In Guyana, international traffic declined by 72 per cent in 2020 and 47 per cent in 2021 against 2019 records. But fortunately, we are recovering much faster than the industry, and as of May 2022, we are [at] 95 per cent of the pre-pandemic passenger numbers; and we expect to close 2022 with five per cent more passengers than in 2019.”
Additionally, he noted that as it relates to domestic aviation, there was a 46 per cent and 30 per cent drop seen in passenger movement in 2020 and 2021, respectively, when compared to 2019.
With that, he added that government sees the aviation sector as robust and, in anticipation of the rapid growth, is continuing to invest in the sector.
“While we have just completed the expansion of our main airport, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA); works have already started on the design of a new terminal building and cold storage and packaging facility,” Minister Indar said.
Indar further expressed that recovery of the industry will require the enhancement of technical cooperation across the range of civil aviation activities with a focus on sustainable development.
As such, he stressed that the strengthening of technical cooperation in civil aviation can foster better social and economic conditions, while also helping to foster improved relations among countries.
To this end, he highlighted that collaboration in areas of human resource capacity building, infrastructure services and environmental protection can strengthen relations on the institutional and country levels.
Minister Indar said Guyana is ready and willing to engage in deeper dialogue and increased technical and inter-regional cooperation with the Republic of Korea.
Meanwhile, as he spoke on the recovery of the sector, he indicated that most countries are now facing the common threat of rising costs of fuel and shopping, food security, and climate change among others.
With this in mind, he underscored the importance of bilateral and multilateral cooperation which is needed now to strengthen the sector.