US, Guyana fine tuning open skies agreement

The United States (US) and Guyana are fine-tuning a new air transportation agreement to cater for the granting of flag-carrier status in the future, according to American Ambassador to Guyana Brent Hardt.

The agreement could be inked within another month, he told Demerara Waves Online News.

The December 12 signing of the new accord by Hardt and Guyana’s Aviation Minister Robeson Benn has been pushed back to allow the two sides to agree on a memorandum that should have been included in the final agreement, said the envoy.

“There was a request from the Guyana side for an additional memorandum to be attached to that so we had to go back to get the concurrence from Washington to add that to the agreement so that process is moving forward but it has just delayed the agreement for a short time,” said.

Termed an ‘open skies’ agreement, the accord would seek to stimulate competition and minimize government intervention in aviation relations between the US and Guyana.

Hardt explained that the memorandum would in the future allow for the designation of flag carrier status. “I think it creates more flexibility for how a country might designate a national carrier and it’s something which other countries in the Caribbean have looked at. It’s doesn’t have a huge impact on the agreement but it’s a potential benefit,” he said.

He assured that neither the US nor Guyana had reservations about the memorandum, the only delay being as a result of the document having to go through all the steps again because of the additional memorandum.

The Guyana government has said that the new agreement would stimulate the development of individual airlines and liberalize passenger and cargo services.

“The Agreement will also liberalize the rules for international aviation markets and minimize government intervention as it applies to passenger, all-cargo and combination air transportation as well as scheduled and charter services,” the foreign ministry has stated.

The agreement, the Guyana government said, would also make it possible for airlines to offer the traveling and shipping public a variety of service options which will encourage individual airlines to develop and implement innovative and competitive prices.

The agreement will replace the 66-year old agreement between the US and theUK that had been signed in Bermuda on February 11, 1946. Guyana inherited that agreement at the time of independence in 1966.

Source: Demerara Waves