With just Caribbean Airlines and Surinam Airways serving the Guyana and U.S markets, the Ministry of Tourism is hoping that Guyana could attract bigger names in the airline industry as there appears to be an upsurge in air travel.
Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali told News Source that the travelling trend of persons flying to and from Guyana is changing and there needs to be a greater push to get better known airlines here that could cater for the demand.
He said “we need those hardcore names in the aviation industry, like Jet Blue, Delta because those are names that are very strong in the aviation sector”. The Minister however, said he does not believe that it is just a “Guyana problem” but it may be an issue that is affecting the entire Caribbean region and the region may need to look at how it could collectively attract the major carriers to this part of the world.
Delta Airlines pulled out of the Guyana market in May of this year. That decision by Delta came as a surprise to the Government and the tourism industry. The carrier served the Guyana market for five years but began focusing on more lucrative routes across the United States and Europe.
Caribbean Airlines since being granted Guyana Flag Carrier status has increased the number of flights it offers to Guyana. But the airline has also come under heavy criticism for its high fares. The Minister of Tourism recently complained about the prices for tickets between Guyana and New York being offered by Caribbean Airlines. Travellers are being asked to pay as much as US$1100 for flights during the upcoming July/August travel season. The fares have been fluctuating and once the peak season is over, the fares could fall to less than US$700 by mid September.
Fly Jamaica Airlines has been granted permission to begin its Guyana operations and is now in the process of finalising all the arrangements for a start-up date. The airline is expected to launch its service in July.
The Guyana Government intends to send a private and public sector team to the United States to meet with executive of the major airlines there to see if they would be interested in taking on the Guyana market.