New York-bound Guyanese passengers no longer have to deplane in Jamaica

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 March 2016, 12:19 by Denis Chabrol

Passengers flying aboard Jamaica-based airline Fly Jamaica will no longer have to endure the painstaking experience of having to disembark the flight en route to the United States to undergo a second security check after leaving Guyana.

The American policy implemented by their Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been in place for a number of years, restricting all non-American airlines originating out of Guyana, such as Fly Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines from flying non-stop to that nation. Guyana has also had a long and hard struggle in its attempts to attain the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Category One compliance which would rank the country among other States that would have been able to implement and follow internationally recognised aviation rules and guidelines.

Fly Jamaica’s Commercial and Marketing Manager Carl Bowen confirmed Saturday 12 that the TSA has relaxed the policy. “We no longer have to do that (have passengers disembark). We have received that clearance from the TSA and the Jamaican authorities.”

In a public correspondence it was noted that, “As a result of the recent approvals from the US TSA and the Jamaican Civil Aviation Authority, please be advised that the north-bound passengers from Guyana to John F. Kennedy Airport in NY, no longer have to deplane and go through Jamaica Immigration and Customs. The Passengers can remain on board, as they now do, on the south-bound journey.”

Airlines had made it very clear to Guyanese government officials in the past that upgrading the aviation system would boost that nation’s sector, especially if certain policy’s against the country’s air transport abilities were removed.

Guyana’s Minister with responsibility for the aviation sector David Patterson noted last December that in government’s quest to attain ICAO Category One Status, government is keen on reviving a national air carrier such as the defunct Guyana Airways Corporation (GAC). That, however, would be in the longer term, he said, since enabling a national carrier is an expensive task. Meanwhile, he noted that Guyana is getting closer to its ICAO goals as it works on other compliance areas such as security and service among others.

(reporting by Zena Henry)