The inaugural American Airlines flight from Miami touched down at Guyana’s Cheddi Jagan International Airport just before midnight local time on Thursday. Upon landing, the four hour long flight operated with an Airbus 319 aircraft was welcomed by a water cannon salute and a ribbon cutting ceremony inside the airport terminal.
The ceremony to commemorate the U.S. carrier’s first flight was attended by acting Prime Minister, Carl Greenidge; government ministers, U.S. Ambassador, Perry Holloway; Director General of Civil Aviation, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Egbert Field; airline representatives and other dignitaries.
Speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony, the Guyana Civil Aviation head welcomed American Airlines to Guyana and thanked them for moving up the inaugural flight date. The airline had originally planned to begin operations in December, but was persuaded to bring forward that date to accommodate a planned International Air Transport Conference due to take place next week.
In his remarks, Field said that the connectivity that American Airlines brings to Guyana will enhance tourism and trade. He thanked his staff for expediting the paperwork required to it possible for the airline to meet the start date of November 15.
Hon. Annette Ferguson, Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, remarked that American Airlines is one of the largest airlines in world with over 1000 aircraft, 6000 daily flights, and more than 350 destinations in 55 countries. She said that “to have them operating four times per week in Guyana is good news for the aviation sector and by extension, the economy of Guyana.”
According to the junior minister, the total passenger traffic to Guyana last year was 664,624 persons, the highest in the country’s history. She expressed confidence that that number will increase in 2018. With most of the Guyanese in the diaspora living in the U.S., “having more seats in the market to these destinations is an advantage,” she added.
Robert A. Wirick, Managing Director, International Government Affairs for American Airlines spoke on behalf of the airline saying that it is an honor to serve Guyana which makes it their nineteenth destination in South America.
U.S. Ambassador Perry Holloway remarked that the airline’s entry to Guyana will make them more of a leader in the region and wondered what took them so long. He opined that there will be greater cooperation between the peoples of Guyana and the U.S. allowing them to work closely together.
The service will operate from Miami to Georgetown on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sunday departing 6 pm EST. Georgetown – Miami flights will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays departing at 1.09 am local time.
American Airlines is currently the only U.S. carrier serving Guyana, affording Guyanese more travel options to North American cities and beyond.
[Photos: Department of Public Information]