A group of aircraft operators have joined forces to form the National Air Transport Association (NATA), a body that will represent their interest in Guyana’s aviation industry. The association comprises aircraft owners, operators, managers, pilots, flight attendants, air traffic controllers, ground handling and aviation security agents.
Serving on the executive of the newly formed association are Annette Arjoon-Martins as the President, Captain Gerry Gouveia as Vice President, Captain Learie Barclay as Secretary and Briony Tiware as Treasurer, among others.
At a press conference held on Wednesday, Annette Arjoon-Martins said that the aviation industry in Guyana is not represented by a broad-based association and that the founders of NATA believed it is time for that to change. She said that the association plans to “address the challenges in a short period of time” and serve as a transparent body for the sector.
NATA, she explained, intends to interface with government and other stakeholders in the local aviation sector with the aim of improving the sector. This comes on the heels of a recently held Aviation Conference in Guyana which affirmed that the aviation sector in the country was lagging behind.
Captain Gerry Gouveia said that such a damning report does not auger well for the development of the aviation industry in Guyana. He admitted that the formation of NATA was triggered in part by ongoing problems that operators face at the Ogle International Airport.
Gouveia characterized a recently disseminated document by the Ogle International Airport’s management as “disrespectful.” The document which was sent to operators, attempts to get them to sign on to a lien agreement that could possibly put their businesses in trouble.
The Ogle International Airport is a private venture that started off with five shareholders. The Correia group which owns and controls Trans Guyana Airways is the largest single shareholder in the airport, and has not joined or supported the formation of the new Association.
“This is an unprecedented collection of aviation professionals. For the first time you have engineers, pilots, flight attendants, aircraft owners and operations and together for the first time we will truly have an organization that will represent the technical professional issue of aviation”, Gouveia said.
A recent move to rename Ogle airport in honour of Eugene Correia, Guyana’s first Aviation Minister, met the disapproval of the majority of operators at the airport.