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Guyana issues tough warning to InterCaribbean Airways

Last Updated on Monday, 14 August 2023, 22:03 by Denis Chabrol

FLASH BACK: Barbados’ Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins (peach outfit) greeting her Guyanese counterpart, Oneidge Walrond and Minister of Aviation Juan Edghill. Looking on is Chief Executive Officer of InterCaribbean Airways, Mr. Sadler. (File picture) 

Aviation Minister, Juan Edghill on Monday said top officials of the Guyana government have warned InterCaribbean Airways that it could face sanctions if the carrier does not avoid prolonged flight delays and cancellations.

Mr Edghill said officials, including representatives of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), met with representatives of the Turks and Caicos Islands-headquartered airline last Thursday to address repeated concerns by travellers. He said the airline’s representatives in those talks said they were issues with crew and other internal matters.

Among the commitments given to Guyanese authorities include better handling in Barbados and additional aircraft to address the delays. “If they don’s t fulfill those obligations that they made last week Thursday, we will have to step in and take additional actions or possible sanctions,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

The minister declined to immediately specify the type of punishment, saying that depended on the seriousness of the inconvenience.

Mr Edghill said since last week’s meeting with InterCaribbean, he had not yet received any feedback from passengers. He said he was not convinced that he should be satisfied with the assurances. “InterCaribbean came to Guyana advocating a particular service. We expect them to provide that service,” he said.

According to the Guyanese Aviation Minister, InterCaribbean was told that it needed to improve its service rather than simply making excuses. “The airlines cannot just make money and people suffer. They have to be able to have the social contract with the passengers fulfilled. That was strongly communicated, and we expect the change but if that does not happen, we have to go to the next level,” he said.

Asked whether one of the sanctions could be the suspension of InterCaribbean on the Guyana route, Mr Edghill would only say, “I don’t want to go there right now” as government was keen on having seats for the travelling public and “we want a better service.”

“While we’re reaching out for better service, we will not allow Guyanese to be short-changed,” he said.

On the issue of compensation, Mr Edghill said the IATA policy says refunds could become available in about 14 days after requests are made to the travel agent.

Earlier this month, Guyana’s Honorary Consul to Antigua and Barbuda, Robert Reis issued a statement protesting the shabby treatment being meted out to Guyanese travelling from Montserrat, Antigua, British Virgin Islands and other destinations to Guyana.

InterCaribbean began commercial flights to Guyana in December, 2021, in what had been widely regarded as much improved replacement for LIAT airline which scrapped many routes due to its financial woes.

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August 2023