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CONVIASA begins flying to Guyana next month; to increase Caribbean destinations

A Guyana Fire Service water tender sprays the first CONVIASA aircraft to symbolically welcome the carrier here.

Venezuela’s state-owned airline, CONVIASA, will next month begin flights to and from Guyana and eventually expand to the rest of the Caribbean, a top official said Saturday.

President of CONVIASA, Luis Gustavo Graterol Caraballo said the carrier would initially begin once weekly flights between Georgetown and Puerto Ordaz where there is a large Guyanese community and then increase it to twice weekly.

Guyana’s Transport Minister Robeson Benn said the airline is scheduled to begin flights during December after a number of administrative matters have been addressed. Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com) was told that they include finalizing paperwork with the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

Graterol Caraballo was among several Venezuelan officials who touched down aboard a Bombardier aircraft shortly after 2 PM Saturday after flying for 51 minutes.

The CONVIASA boss said CONVIASA would also increase its Caribbean destinations in keeping with the policy of the oil-rich nation under the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA).

“It is the policy of the Venezuelan government to make strong ALBA relations with the member countries of CARICOM,” he said, adding that dream of late President Hugo Chavez was continuing under his successor Nicolas Maduro.

Graterol Caraballo said the airline planned to acquire more planes to serve the wider Caribbean.

Already serving Trinidad and Grenada, CONVIASA plans to next year begin flights to St. Vincent and Dominica and possibly neighbouring islands.  He said much depended on the market-demand for its service.

Representatives of both countries hoped that the Venezuelan carrier would help boost tourism, trade and greater people-to-people contact between the two South American countries.

“This new flight provides an opportunity for flying directly to Venezuela for we can now visit our families and friends and conduct business quite easily in Venezuela. To the merchant and the tourist, this is a good day,” said Chief Executive Officer of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Ramesh Ghir.

Ghir said CONVIASA adds to the CJIA’s plans of becoming the next generation hub to connect on existing and newer carriers.

The air-bridge comes on the heels of the Fifth Meeting of the Guyana-Venezuela High Level Bilateral Commission which was held in Guyana on August 30, 2013