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GCAA gets GYD$609 million bailout due to COVID-19

The headquarters of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), High Street, Kingston, Georgetown.

Reeling from the devastating impact that the coronavirus has been having on international air travel, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has gotten a GYD$600 million bailout to ensure that the regulatory agency remains internationally compliant, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill said.

Responding to a question from Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Teixeira about why GYD$609 million was allocated to the GCAA, he said that authority “traditionally” earns its own revenues to finance its operations.

“Of recent times, it has really fallen on hard times and this has been more compounded by the fact of COVID and because of the reduction of revenue, because of where they garner they revenue from  flights, overpass flights and the rest of it and you had a reduction, in order to keep our ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) certification in order, we need to have at all times in our reserves four months cover,” he said.

Mr. Edghill told the House during consideration of the 2020 National Budget Estimates , he said GYD$440 million ICAO-related cover and the remainder is to bridge an operating deficit of GYD$169 million.

The Public Works Minister declined to give details on why so much money was needed for the GCAA because of the need to protect the image of the regulatory agency, but he hinted at undisclosed cost overruns. Former Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson called on Mr. Edghill to disclose those excessive spendings but House Speaker Manzoor Nadir did not allow discussion on that matter because it was not part of the estimates.