Eastern Airlines seeks approval to fly into Guyana

Eastern Airlines

EASTERN Airlines has applied to the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to provide a once-weekly scheduled service between New York and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).

According to a notice which was published in Sunday’s edition of the Guyana Chronicle, Eastern Airlines seeks to operate from December 15, 2018. The licence, if granted by the GCAA, will be valid for a three-year period.

Previously, Eastern Airlines which was headquartered in Miami operated a charter service between Guyana and New York through an arrangement with Travel Span and One Guyana. However, Eastern Airlines folded in 2017 and was bought over by Swift Air.

Following a range of investment manoeuvring, a document seen by this newspaper indicates that Dynamic International Airways has applied to the United States Department of Transportation to operate its Boeing 767 aircraft under the Eastern Airlines name.

The document filed with the U.S. authorities states that Kenneth Wolley, a 38% shareholder of Swift Air, the company which bought over Eastern Airlines, became a 100% owner at Dynamic Airways after its exited bankruptcy earlier this year. As a result, Dynamic is able to use the ‘Eastern’ brand.

Guyanese travellers are familiar with Dynamic Airways and its troubles. In July 2017, following several instances when passengers were stranded at the CJIA and the JFK airport, the carrier announced that it had filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition with the United States Bankruptcy Court.

It stated that it intended to continue its operations here as its principals had restructured plans. The airline noted that its decision to file for bankruptcy protection followed litigation matters resulting from Hajj flights the airline operated in 2014 for Air India.

Later, Dynamic made its final flight out of Guyana in October 2017 and left it to the travel agents here to inform passengers it left behind that they needed to officially write the company requesting refunds for tickets purchased. Several weeks before the announcement, travel agents indicated that they were unable to book flights with the troubled airline.

Dynamic subsequently announced that as of March 8, 2018, it was out of bankruptcy protection and would be developing its ACMI charter business under its Eastern Air Lines brand.

According to documents filed with the United States authorities, Dynamic said in its reorganisation plan that it would continue to provide charter flights to rebuild its finances, since it sees “substantial unmet public/market need for carriers with wide-body convertible aircraft.”

The company has begun seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Transportation to increase its fleet beyond the current limit of five “large aircraft” to 10.

Dynamic was also quoted as saying that they have the infrastructure and ability to operate the 10 aircraft.

Guyana remains an extremely lucrative market for air travel and with the upcoming oil and gas sector set to boost the economy significantly, as well as completion of the expansion of the CJIA to accommodate larger wide-body planes, the country’s strategic location between the Caribbean, South, Central and North America may very well remain an ideal operating destination.

Just last month, American Airlines launched its service here and reports are that a number of other major U.S. carriers, including United Airlines, have expressed an interest in flying here.

This story was first published by Guyana Chronicle.