Guyana May Have National Airline Again

The high and increasing cost of travel to and from Guyana and its regional neighbours has prompted the Bharrat Jagdeo administration to consider starting up a state-owned airline.

President Jagdeo said having a national carrier once again is not being ruled out as an option to break the monopoly held by the Trinidad and Tobago-owned Caribbean Airlines.

“This unconscionable monopoly on increase in fare, particularly by Caribbean Airlines, where you pay sometimes more to travel from Guyana to Trinidad and Tobago than people pay from Trinidad and Tobago to get into the US simply is not sustainable,” he said.

“If the argument by Caribbean Airlines and the others is that they have to charge lower fares from Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados into North America because they have competition there then we can operate a shuttle to these two countries so that our people can have cheaper fares there too,” Jagdeo added.

The President, who was speaking as three new businesses opened at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, expressed optimism that having a Guyana airline could work, noting that the country was able to operate a carrier at a time when it was in serious debt.

That airline – Guyana Airways – operated services to destinations throughout the Caribbean, the US and Canada from 1973 and had at one stage prided itself on being the only profit-making carrier in the English-speaking Caribbean. However, it went bankrupt in 2001.

Its successor, Guyana Air 2000, then maintained a short-lived operation until it also filed for insolvency.

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