GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- On instructions from Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar and the Cabinet, Minister of Transport and Hydraulics, Robeson Benn on Wednesday accorded flag carrier status to Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL). This proclamation was made when the airline launched its inaugural non-stop flight from Guyana to Canada.
Chairman of CAL, Rabindra Moonan; chief executive officer, Robert Corbie; minister of tourism, industry and commerce, Irfaan Ali; and other officials were present at the ceremony held at the Executive Lounge at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
This new addition complements the anticipated CJIA expansion to the terminal and runway. The investment being made seeks to ensure improvements in airline operations out of Guyana.
Initially, there will be two flights from Guyana to Canada, and as the peak season approaches, the number of flights will increase for both Canada and New York.
Benn, in making reference to the fall out of EZjet and previously RedJet, stated that Guyana wants to make sure that it has continuing links with the Diaspora in North America and Canada where many Guyanese reside, and who desire to visit their relatives. Additionally, connections with the Diaspora aid national development.
Benn acknowledged that, while there have been ups and downs, CAL has always been a stable partner.
CAL’s chairman said it has been in the making for a number of years and this decision has received great response from Guyanese in Toronto. In this regard, he said CAL was very proud to be a part of history in the making.
Moonan committed to give selfless, loyal and dedicated service to Guyanese, and is pleased with the support given by the government and aviation authorities in facilitating this new flight route.
He explained that, while CAL is in business to make a profit, the airline would not be unscrupulous when dealing with the travelling public.
“We would look at market prices, market forces and our prices will be dictated by that… one thing I would give the assurance that the level in which we offer will be unsurpassed,” he emphasised.
In November, the government of Guyana and CAL’s officials met at State House, where the discussion ended with an agreement to have the Trinidad and Tobago carrier provide short-term accommodation for the stranded EZjet New York bound passengers. This decision came in the wake of EZjet’s licence suspension.
News of this matter, which stemmed from fees being owed to the aircraft’s lease company Swift Air, left thousands of passengers who made bookings with the suspended airline in despair and prompted the government to approach Caribbean Airlines.