With a solid plan set out by the Guyana government for the improvement of the local aviation sector, President David Granger has called on stakeholders to exploit the opportunities that will present themselves over the next five years.
Speaking at the Trans Guyana Airways and the Correia Group of Companies for the commissioning of the new Raytheon Beechcraft 1900D aircraft, on Thursday evening, the President laid out this plan for the sector.
Speaking at the event, the President announced that his government is also prepared to work with the sector and other stakeholders to achieve four major objectives that were set out in the ‘Draft Aviation Policy’.
These objectives will include; ensuring independent aircraft accident investigation, enhancing the capability of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, expanding the hinterland aerodrome rehabilitation programme and establishing a permanent national ‘search and rescue’ agency.
Describing the addition of the Raytheon Beechcraft 1900D aircraft to the local aviation sector as a “good move”, President Granger said this represents an expression of confidence in the future of domestic and commercial aviation.
“This aircraft, undoubtedly, will improve the range, reliability, quality and competitiveness of aviation services to the vast reaches of our hinterland,” President Granger said. President Granger reminded the large gathering, that the hinterland is an essential element in Guyana’s development and that it is the future frontier of economic progress and territorial occupation.
With this in mind, President Granger said his administration will make every effort to unlock the hinterland’s vast wealth. However in so doing, he pointed out that the development of the local aviation sector will play a critical role.
“We propose to do so in a sustainable way so that the future generations can also benefit from our national patrimony. Huge economic and social disparities separate the hinterland from the coastlands, we will pay increased attention over the next five years to reduce these inequalities by improving communication and transportation, thereby unlocking the hinterland’s vast wealth,” the President pointed out.
Pointing to the fact that over the years, domestic aviation has proven to be one of the keys to unlocking potential, the President added it is even clearer that domestic aviation supports essential economic activities. “Your government acknowledges and values the contribution of the aviation sector to our country’s development. We are keen to ensure that this sector continues to expand and to provide improved services to all Guyanese,” he said.
President Granger said his administration is prepared to complement private investment with public investment to create a more robust sector.
With regard to accident investigation, President Granger said the new administration will support the call for aviation accidents to be investigated promptly and competently so that lessons can be learnt, with the aim of improving regulations and presenting reoccurrences.
“We agree that we must boost the institutional and technological capacity of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, in order to ensure greater aeronautical surveillance and enforce rigorous safety and security standards,” President Granger said.
Greater emphasis will be placed on upgrading existing airstrips in hinterland communities as there is the growing need to expand the reach of domestic aviation services. “The hinterland has witnessed too many aviation mishaps and accidents, we want to ensure that once an accident occurs, relief will be on the way as quickly as possible,” President Granger said.
Also as the President congratulated the company on this acquisition he took time to pay tribute to a true pioneer in the local aviation sector, Eugene Francis Correia. Mr. Correia was a prospector, and was later elected a member of the Legislative Assembly and first Minister of Communication, Shipping and Civil Aviation in Guyana’s first post-independence government. The President urged the Director of Ogle International Airport Incorporated, to rename the facility, the Eugene F. Correia International Airport.
Meanwhile, the sentiments expressed by President Granger were supported by some announcements made by the Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson who was also in attendance. Minister Patterson noted that the Ministry has taken note of the significant growth and development in the local aviation sector.
“I have taken a keen interest in the positive impact that this sector has made on the Gross Domestic Product of many developing countries and I thus give my support to the continued development of our aviation sector,” Minister Patterson said.
Coming out of the recent budget, the Minister said a large allocation has been made for; improving the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) compliance towards attaining Federal Aviation Administration Category One status, the rehabilitation of hinterland airstrips and new equipment for Air Traffic Control. The Minister also assured that further provisions will be made in the 2016 budget for development of the sector.
Also on the occasion, Minister of Tourism Catherine Hughes applauded the initiative shown by the company, deeming it a boost for the tourism and hospitality sector. The new aircraft is a 19 seat pressurized, twin engine turboprop, fixed wing aircraft.