Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014, 6:16 by GxMediaDynamic Airways flight 499 touched down at 10:04 Sunday night at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport , ending two days of frustration by passengers on the inaugural flight who were stranded in New York.
Passengers expressed mixed feelings about whether the American-owned Dynamic Airways, in partnership with Roraima Airways, should be excused for its poor showing of its first flight out of Guyana Friday morning.
Passengers and their baggage were shuttled by chartered buses from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Atlantic City International Airport from where they departed shortly after 5 PM Sunday. At Atlantic City, their delay was again compounded by administrative snafus because many passengers’ names were misspelled and so they had to be cleared by the Transportation and Safety Administration (TSA) before they were allowed to check in.
The airline was praised for its excellent communication with passengers who called Dynamic Airways’ customer call centre. Although outgoing passenger, Andrew Outar, described his experience to leave the JFK airport as “terror, terror” because he was sent to several terminals last Friday until he learnt that the airline was grounded, the frustrated businessman said he would give the airline another chance because Guyanese are involved. “Guyanese people are involved and you want to support your own, you are a true patriot to your country so you only support your people that they are involved in,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.
After turning up at JFK and was informed by Dynamic Airways representative, Desmond Naraine, that the flight would arrive in Guyana at 8 PM Sunday, Deoranie Pollard asked him for a full refund which he promised her would be processed. Pollard said it made no sense travelling to Guyana because she would have been late for a wedding reception. “I had been really looking forward to this trip. Back and forth, nobody told me anything specific. They were telling me all sort of things,” she said. Her husband advised her not to go to Atlantic City International Airport because of uncertainty. He added that he always preferred to travel with the tried and tested Caribbean Airlines, despite the long transit period at Trinidad and Tobago’s Piarco International Airport.
Travel Agent, Camille Singh was not too bothered by the difficulties that she said were expected by a new carrier, and expressed satisfaction with the way that Dynamic Airways treated the affected passengers. “They tried their utmost to make up for it….They tried to call some passengers and when you called them, they were able to give you some accurate information concerning your flight and finding your name on the manifest,” she said.
Naraine and Dynamic Airways’ spokesman, Bobby Vieria were among those at Atlantic City International Airport feverishly assisting with the processing of passengers. Vieria believed that it was the first time in Guyana’s aviation history that an international airline opted to ensure that so many stranded passengers were taken to their destination rather than await the fixing of all administrative arrangement. “Because of a situation, we just didn’t cancel the flight and leave the passengers stranded. We literally sought out another airport for departure, we took them by bus. It was a little bit strenuous but at least we are taking them home,” he said.
The airline spokesman confirmed that Dynamic Airways was grounded because of problems with its ground handling agency at JFK airport. He said that handler has since been fired and replaced.
A top Roraima Airways official told Demerara Waves Online News that Friday’s problems were also compounded by Fly Jamaica pulling out of an agreement at the last minute that the deal would have Dynamic Airways to use that airline’s terminal. Dynamic is now expected to use British Airways terminal, the source said.
When the Dynamic Airways plane landed Friday at the JFK airport, it did not have a designated air bridge to dock at. Instead, passengers disembarked on air stair under tight supervision by US security personnel. A bus that shuttled the passengers to the airport building was escorted by security personnel.
The company hopes to resolve all administrative problems in time for July 1.