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India-made aircraft for GDF can be certified without affecting Guyana’s global safety rating

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 January 2023, 9:06 by Denis Chabrol

President Irfaan Ali (right) being brief by Indian officials as they sat in the HAL 228 aircraft.

Guyana could acquire and certify two India-made planes for the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) without jeopardising this country’s safety rating by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), according to the Director-General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Retired Colonel Egbert Field.

“Rating would not be affected,” he said.

With President Irfaan Ali already eyeing the purchase of two Dornier-modelled aircraft manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to replace the GDF’s aged fleet, there had been concerns in some quarters of the aviation community that Guyana could lose its more than 70 percent safety rating.

But the GCAA Director General said the aviation regulator would be applying its rules that allow Guyana to accept Type Certificates(TC) from other ICAO member states. “Our regulations allow us to accept TCs from ICAO states on a case by case bases. We will collaborate in the process in order to have a successful conclusion. It can and will be done following the process for acceptance,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

He explained that Guyana would be examining the technical specifications and drawings of the HAL aircraft that Guyana intends to purchase as part of the TC granting process. “The way forward for the TC acceptance is cleared,” he said.

The GCAA Director General said he has been consulting ICAO. “I have engaged ICAO and had discussions reference their guidance throughout the process,” he said.

While the GDF has its own aircraft, they are all registered under civil aviation rules and regulations rather than military as is done in several other countries.

President Ali, during his recent visit to India, said two of the HAL 228 aircraft would be purchased for the GDF.  The HAL 228, which has been modelled after the original German Dornier 228, is being used by the Indian Coast Guard.

A government security official  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.