The National Air Transport Association (NATA) is set to get its way with government’s establishment of a National Airport Authority (NAA) in another four weeks.
NATA’s Vice President, Gerry Gouveia told Demerara Waves Online News that the authority would help regulate the aviation sector including addressing concerns at the Eugene F. Correia ‘Ogle’ International Airport and improving the quality of airstrips in the interior
“I am actually very glad that that is happening. Hopefully, it will bring balance to the distorted governance systems that exist at Ogle and I think we are actually looking forward to it,” he said.
Immediate priorities for the NAA, he said, should include overcrowding and mixing of international and domestic flights at the Eugene F. Correia International Airport and the need to find a balance in the quality of airstrips in Guyana’s interior. “Because of the objective economic reality some we will have to accept a level of compromise on the runways but it would be important for us to understand how far that deviation should be,” Gouveia said.
NATA is already on record as calling for the establishment of the long overdue National Airport Authority “which would ensure a fair, equitable and safe environment for both domestic and international operators.”
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson hopes to hold consultations with the stakeholders before setting up NAA. He expects the authority to address issues of anti-competitive practices by operators, against the background of NATA’s claims that the Correias use their tentacles in a number of aviation-related concerns – airline, aviation maintenance and fuel supply- as well as on the board of Ogle Airport Inc to the disadvantage of other operators.
Patterson said a draft report on the legal status of the Ogle Airport Inc (OAI) in relation to the lease and other issues is being finalized. “The report highlighted what is known- the need for the establishment of the review committee.”
Governmental authorities plan to hold talks with NATA, OAI and the Aircraft Owners Association of Guyana before making a comprehensive submission to Cabinet. Patterson said stakeholders have not been involved at this stage because government did not want them to influence the outcome.
“It is not a blame document to take one side or to blame the other. It is to recommend for us the way forward,” he said.
This story was first published on Demerara Waves.