EZjet begins Toronto flights

EZjet Inc. has started plying the Georgetown to Toronto route with its inaugural flight on Tuesday, joining Caribbean Airlines Limited on a route with a high volume of Guyanese traffic.

Speaking briefly at a ceremony to mark the launch at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, CEO Sonny Ramdeo said he was excited about the new venture but was cagy with details about future plans.
“We’ve got additional plans really to make Guyana a destination where a lot of tourism can come into the country, people that have been overseas for many years can afford to come back here. EZjet has set a very high standard in the quality of service we deliver and we certainly are looking forward to continue that,” he said.
The Guyana government last month approved the request from EZjet GT Inc. to operate the non-scheduled, two flights weekly service from June 15, 2012 to June 14, 2013. The intention was to bring an element of competition to the route.
On Tuesday, acting Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali told Ramdeo not to get too comfortable.
“I also want to say that we’re also in strong discussions on adding to opportunities of more airlines coming directly from Toronto to Guyana because competition stimulates the market and that can be seen in the US market where most flights coming into Guyana are filled since June,” Ali said.
He acknowledged the need for fair competition and added that it was an issue the government was continuously examining.
According to Ali, the Canadian market is estimated at some 50,000 passengers travelling to Guyana and they are confident that the market will grow.
“The average fare to Toronto with the introduction o-f this new airline is US$650 or US$375 one way; what this allows us to do is to compete strategically with the other markets in the Caribbean that attract potential tourists and attract our own brothers and sisters.
“We’re already in a position to compete for cost of food and hotel rates, now we can compete with airline rates and this of course opens up great potential for us,” the minister said.
Ali also challenged EZjet to invest in an aircraft that would do direct flights between, Guyana, Trinidad and Barbados. The airline also flies to New York and Trinidad.
According to Ali, the government is aggressively seeking the introduction of other airlines including JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic, West Jet, Wings Aviation and British Airways.
Ramdeo told Demerara Waves Online News that the initial investment in the airline was US$1.5M and that for the first three months he was losing about US$345,000 each month. “Since then it has been paying for itself,” he added.
The airline is leasing aircraft and is operating a Boeing 767-200 on the GT-Toronto route with a capacity for 218 passengers.
Source: Demerara Waves