Last Updated on Thursday, 16 June 2016, 16:14 by Denis Chabrol
Guyana’s Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) is threatening to ban Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) from flying to and from that airport unless it sticks to an agreement that allows Guyanese travelling to other destinations to take their duty-free purchases with them.
Minister responsible for Civil Aviation, David Patterson explained that the CJIA has written to the Trinidad and Tobago-owned airline on June 15, 2016 giving it until July 6, 2016 or face cancellation of its agreement to fly to that airport.
“Take notice unless CAL remedies its aforesaid default and comply with the said notice of June 15, 2016, within 21 Days of this notice to remedy default, CJIAC will be at liberty to proceed to cancel the air carrier agreement under article 9.3…”
Minister Patterson said Guyana never agreed for CAL passengers who transit the Piarco International Airport to disembark, re-checked by Trinidad and Tobago security and then board again. When doing so, mainly liquor purchased from the CJIA duty free shops are seized and confiscated at the point of security screening at Piarco.
”Secondly, the issue has severe implications to our local businesses, no one can purchase duty free liquids and travel to the United States or Canada so if we continue this way, I might as well shut down the duty free section of the airport,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.
Arguing that the proposal by CJIA is fair, the Aviation Minister lamented that CAL’s approach was woefully inconsistent with its stated desire to become Guyana’s national flag carrier.
“For an airline that just last year speaking to us about being our national carrier, it is unfortunate that they could not accommodate these suggestions or provide an alternate solution,” he said.
CAL did not immediately offer a comment.
If the issue is unresolved, Guyana will have to rely heavily on Suriname Airways, Dynamic Airways and Fly Jamaica to serve the North American routes.