Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 January 2023, 20:24 by Denis Chabrol
President Irfaan Ali on Tuesday said the Civil Aviation authorities of Guyana and India were holding consultations about the rules and procedures for Guyana to purchase two Dornier 228 turboprop planes from Hindustani Aviation Limited (HAL) for the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).
“They are now working at the technical level. I know some meetings are going on with the Civil Aviation Authority of Guyana, with the Civil Aviation Authority of India then there is a technical team that will go to make an assessment and then we’ll get recommendations out of that,” he told a news conference that focussed mainly on his recent visit to India.
United States-based Guyanese pilot Miles Williams had contended that Guyana’s estimated 80 percent safety rating by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) risked being downgraded because the HAL Dornier 228 has not been granted a Type Certificate by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
But Demerara Waves Online News has since seen Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) rules that allow that local regulatory agency to consider accepting Type Certificates issued by other Civil Aviation Authorities on a case by case basis. The GCAA rules confirm that that regulator does not grant Type Certificates but accept them issued by the FAA, United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority, EASA, or Department of Transport Canada in accordance with their respective detailed and comprehensive airworthiness codes.
President Ali said Guyana is exploring acquiring replacements for the Skyvan aircraft which has “limited hours” remaining and another has already been taken out of operation. He said HAL had proposed not only supplying the aircraft but also training, technology and maintenance.
A senior government official and Captain Williams have said the HAL Dornier 228 appear to be very good and suitable for Guyana’s mostly rugged airstrips.
The official said if acquired, the two 19-seater Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) planes would be used for the movement of troops and supplies to military bases across Guyana, assistance with maritime patrols and transportation of Very Important Persons (VIPs).
The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has already acquired brand new Bell 412 helicopter and has been rehabilitating a number of fixed wing planes that had been seized after they illegally entered the country.
In June 2019, the Guyana government had purchased two used BN Islander planes for the GDF but one of them has been scrapped after it was deemed unserviceable. In March 2021, government acquired a brand new Bell helicopter for the army.