Air Services Limited (ASL) yesterday commissioned the newest addition to their fleet, a Cessna Grand Caravan, making it the largest operator at Ogle International Airport and Minister Robeson Benn called for continued public / private partnership to advance Guyana’s development.
The Minister of Transport and Hydraulics was making remarks at the commissioning ceremony, on behalf of President Bharrat Jagdeo, who was in attendance.
Also present were stakeholders from government, and the private and public sectors, as well as the members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Benn stressed that the advances of ASL constitute an achievement that follows the vision of pioneers who struggled for a better Guyana.
He explained that these pioneers pursued personal advancement and came back to Guyana to further its development.
This spirit, according to him, is what is needed – a sense of ownership and a commitment to national development.
The minister made it clear that the progress made to date has been made through public/private partnership, an initiative that has impacted Guyana’s landscape and positioned it on a platform from which progress can advance.
Benn lauded the commitment of the air service and noted that the expanded service, with an additional aircraft will assist in the expansion and delivery of services to other areas, especially the hinterland regions.
ASL’s Flight Operations Manager, Mrs. Annette Arjoon-Martins, pointed out that the service has been successful, but the journey to this point was not without its challenges, some which still persist.
She stressed that the long term development of the entire airport requires the government to take notice of the uneven playing field affecting existing air companies at Ogle, and to ensure that potential regional investors would also be treated in a fair and equitable manner, particularly if their presence locally would result in more competitive airfares.
“This is a vibrant and growing industry,” Arjoon-Martins said.
According to her, some of the persisting challenges include volatile fuel prices; the difficulty to secure competent staff; the vagaries of the weather; and acquisition of land to accommodate a larger fleet. “Ways must be found to facilitate all aircraft operators at Ogle when opportunities to expand arrive. For the largest operator, it is particularly critical that land for systematic expansion be available, adjacent, rather that some distance away,” she said.
Arjoon-Martins added that the developmental need of the aviation stakeholders must take priority where land allocations are concerned.
She said, “for future development, such as the possibility of other carriers coming in, the large companies that offer aircraft handling services at Ogle can only take advantage of such opportunities if they have space to accommodate the aircraft.”
The Flight Operations Manager maintained that ASL continues to focus on its mission, which is to provide expanded and improved air services to Guyana’s interior locations at affordable costs and to realize ASL’s goal of a fully upgraded fuel-efficient turbine fleet.
Director of the Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Zulficar Mohamed, adding his bit, said the operations of ASL have grown significantly and he lauded the vision that has propelled the growth.
He stressed that Ogle Airport is on the verge of bigger things, in particular its transformation into an international airport, and charged ASL to continue its development in line with becoming a regional service provider.
Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Mr. Ramesh Dookhoo, also made remarks and said ASL has recognized the value of transport in stepping up economical development.
He called for transparency, accountability and good governance from the private sector company in an effort to ensure that public confidence is well-founded.
“The PSC is proud of ASL and there is a great future ahead for the aviation industry,” Dookhoo said.
Today, Air Services Limited operates five Cessna Grand Caravans, four BN-2A Islanders, three Cessna 206s, and two Cessna 172s, providing support to all sectors of Guyana.
Source: Guyana Chronicle | Written by Vanessa Narine