Last Updated on Thursday, 16 November 2017, 15:35 by Denis Chabrol
Fly Jamaica, an airline that is majority-owned by Guyanese, has been given the green-light to serve the Guyana-Cuba route, and a top airline official said flights could begin in January 2018.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said Cabinet has granted approval for the Jamaica-headquartered airline to ply the Georgetown-Havana route.
Cuba and Guyana’s civil aviation authorities granted regulatory approval as far back as July, 2017, but Harmon refused to drawn into comment about what caused Guyana’s cabinet’s delay. “What I can say to you is this that once the matter came to Cabinet, Cabinet considered it so there is nothing about delay in the Cabinet,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer of Fly Jamaica, Captain Ronald Reece told Demerara Waves Online News that he was unaware of the approval and said he would first have to receive a letter.
He, nevertheless, welcomed the news and indicated that Fly Jamaica could begin flying to and from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island in January next year. He said his airline decided to request permission to begin regular flights on the Cuba- Guyana route because there is evidence of significant traffic on the route mainly among Cuban shoppers.
“The evidence is clear. You have a lot of Cubans coming to shop. Guyana is one of the few places they can do so without a visa. They find it a very like-able place to shop, and there were some carriers that were letting them down,” Reece said.
Sources have told Demerara Waves Online News that although the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) had granted reciprocal regulatory approval, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, which is responsible for the aviation sector, had taken a long time to take the process forward to Cabinet.