A Copa Airlines aircraft
GEORGETOWN, (GINA) -- Panamanian carrier, Copa Airlines will begin flying the Panama to Georgetown, Guyana, route on July 11, with twice weekly flights.
The announcement was made at a joint press conference with representatives of the tourism and foreign affairs ministries, Copa and the local private sector.
In September, Fly Jamaica made its inaugural flight to Guyana, serving the New York to Guyana and later the Georgetown to Toronto route; while regional airline, LIAT, made its first official landing at the Ogle International Airport, commencing its service from Barbados to Ogle.
Also now flying to Guyana is the CONVIASA non-commercial flight from Venezuela, operating once weekly while Travel Span returned its services to Guyana in early December.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett welcomed the arrival of the airline, noting that it took two years of work to make it a reality.
She highlighted that this is an effort by the country to strengthen its relationship with Latin America, taking a new direction in expanding its reaches.
Copa’s sales manager, Guillermo Gomez, said passengers can enjoy world-class service, and the best digital services. These flights will also allow passengers to travel for less time with only one stop in the amazing Copa Airlines Hub of the Americas, he said.
Guillermo welcomed Guyanese to enjoy the new route and the benefits of being connected with the rest of to South, North, and Central America along with the Caribbean through this airline.
Minister of Tourism Irfaan Ali said that with this new carrier on board, it will allow Guyana to become a secondary hub to Panama, leading to Africa. He added that this is a macro plan by the ministry.
The minister also highlighted that his ministry will ensure that the front line staff are able to speak and understand Spanish fully, so that there will be no language barrier between the passengers and staff at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). Training programmes will be made available for individuals to learn Spanish as well.
Copa now serves a total of 69 destinations in 30 countries with the addition of Guyana. The airline was founded in 1947 and is the leading Latin American provider of passenger and cargo services.
In 2013 the airline received Skytrax awards for “Best Airline” and “Best Airline and Cabin Crew” in Central America and the Caribbean.
Ali also added that this partnership will increase the flow of business in Guyana, and attract a higher percentage of traffic inflow from Asia. The ministry is hoping to have another similar announcement later in the year, as discussions are still ongoing with another major airline.
Rodrigues-Birkett added that for a country as small as Guyana with only 16 missions abroad, it doesn’t have the resources to issue visas in the process of encouraging persons from countries to visit Guyana. It is in this light that visas to Panama have been waived, allowing individuals to visit the country for up to 90 days.
Measures have been put in place to have the same done for Costa Rica and Peru, due to the fact that the Panamanian airline indicated that there can be some connection with the two locations and Guyana.