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Guyana suspends Venezuelan airline’s flights; passengers stranded

Several of the stranded Conviasa passengers at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport

by Zena Henry

Guyana has suspended the operations of the Venezuelan airline, Conviasa because the carrier is yet to pay a passenger bond now that its operating license is about to be renewed, according to a top civil aviation official.

“At the moment Conviasa’s permit has been suspended because they have not established their financial obligations,” she told Demerara Waves Online News. She said the bond is a requirement for the carrier to renew its permit to fly here.

The bond is usually deposited to assist in reimbursing stranded passengers should the carrier cease operations suddenly.

Demerara Waves could not immediately confirm whether for the first time Conviasa was asked to pay certain taxes and fees as those were not being done in arrangements with the former administration prior to the May 11, 2015.

The carrier recently settled an estimated GUY$7 million debt to the CJIA and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) for landing fees and navigational communication services, according to another source.

As a result of the suspension, several passengers have been left stranded at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).

Roraima Airways, which provides ground-handling services to Conviasa, confirmed that the Venezuelan carrier was not allowed to land at the CJIA Saturday evening.

Outgoing passengers were scattered about sleeping in the airport’s departure lounge.

Conviasa began plying the Guyana-Venezuela route in December 2013.