By Faith Greene
AS Guyana continues to attract interest, owing to its oil-and-gas industry and success in others sectors, more international passenger traffic is expected at the country’s two major airports.
While speaking at Monday’s opening of the National Aviation Seminar, the minister disclosed encouraging statistics.
He said that the overall international passenger traffic to and from Guyana experienced growth rate at an estimated 77.9 per cent.
“Total international traffic increased from 399, 483 passengers to 710, 564 passengers in 2022, making the case that Guyana has a growing aviation industry internationally,” he revealed.
Moreover, the minister said that at the Eugene F. Correia International Airport, the total international passenger traffic grew by approximately 82 per cent in 2022, from 29, 290 recorded in 2021 to 53, 315.
Minister Edghill stressed that whether it is at the Eugene Correia Airport, or the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), passenger traffic is growing.
“At the CJIA, international passenger traffic increased by approximately 77.5 per cent in 2022, to a total of 657, 249 passengers, up from 370, 187 passengers in 2021.”
A report produced by the Ministry of Finance had stated that in the first six months of this year, Guyana welcomed a total of 149, 020 visitors, an increase of 16.2 per cent.
Minister Edghill disclosed that March and April recorded the highest level of arrivals, and it is anticipated that arrivals will surpass the 2019 record of 314,727 visitors.
Additionally, he said that a significant amount of trade takes place between the hinterland and the coastland.
It was pointed out that the livelihood of many in the hinterland depends on aviation, and many of the communities are only accessible by air.
“There is growth in freight traffic. In 2022, total international freight traffic experiencing an increase compared to passenger traffic. International freight grew by 4.7 per cent, to 9, 797 metric tons up from 9, 354 metric tons in 2021,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar in his remarks highlighted the efforts the government is making to improve passenger experience and safety within the aviation sector.
He said that a year ago, a masterplan was approved for the Eugene F. Correia International Airport and this included the creation of new terminals and other ancillary services that a modern airport should have.
Minister Indar noted that the 401 acres of land owned by the airport, needs to be utilised in a way that can benefit the sector, whether it is cargo operations or the construction of a hotel that can be home to persons passing through the airports.
At the CJIA, he disclosed that work is being done by the national information technology advisor through the Office of the Prime Minister, to install a number of E-Gates.