Robeson Benn

InselAir launches flight to Curaçao

Within the short period of six months, InselAir has exemplified investors’ tremendous confidence in Guyana’s developing aviation sector as it has launched service on another Guyana-Caribbean route.

The inaugural InselAir flight from Curaçao arrived in Guyana just after midnight on December 19 at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) with over 70 passengers and departed Friday morning with close to 50. The flight touched down with eager passengers consisting of various officials and regional press who could not wait to foster the ties between the two nations.

Onboard the first flight from Curaçao was St Martin’s Minister of Tourism and Transport, Ted Richardson who arrived in Guyana for the first time.

At a simple ceremony shortly after his arrival, Minister Richardson noted that this new route would make a big contribution to St Martin’s economy.

Initially, InselAir had two flights per week from Georgetown to Aruba where passengers via the Aruba hub had easy access to Curaçao from which many other InselAir destinations are available.

Now with the addition of this direct Curaçao-Georgetown route, InselAir has four weekly flights into Guyana.

Commendable

Public Works and Transport Minister Robeson Benn was impressed that InselAir chose to launch yet another route in such a short period.
“I am excited. I’m happy that InselAir is moving up their operations … I’m excited that again, we are having another vote of confidence in our country’s air transport operations.”

Moreover, on the topic of development, Minister Benn disclosed that he wanted to see more assertive young people with the confidence and positive outlook to develop the country.

CJIA Chief Executive Officer Ramesh Ghir was ecstatic to introduce yet another air service carrier to Guyana, noting that Guyana’s aviation sector is rapidly unfolding.

He also acknowledged and praised the Government’s confidence in the major development of the sector. He cited among other projects “the investment in the control tower, the expansion of the CJIA which is ongoing, the supported infrastructure for the transport sector, the four-lane highway road, the development of the other supporting airports…”

Also commending the Government of Guyana on its efforts to promote the country as a tourism hub, which in turn would develop the aviation sector, was the Director of Roraima Airways, Captain Gerry Gouveia.

“I believe that this effort by the Minister and his team to market Guyana through aviation is actually very strategic.”

He further acknowledged that “Guyana is a country on the move and nothing is going to stop it … we’re creating economic development, we’re creating employment … with partners like InselAir. I’m very optimistic about the future.”

Roraima Airways has been authorised as the ground handling services and general sales agent for the airline.

Furthermore, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of InselAir, Albert Cliver hinted at plans for a fruitful new year.

“We want to have more opportunities for direct flights out of Guyana,” Cliver noted.

InselAir’s 2015 plans include connections to Colombia and Brazil. Additionally, Cliver expressed hopes of having direct flights out of Guyana and more Caribbean destination opportunities

 

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Image Caption: 

Hon. Benn (R) helps to cut the ribbon.

Exec Jet Club flights accordance with procedures applicable at CJIA

All of Executive Jet Club LLC flights have taken place in accordance with the established measures that are applicable in and out of Guyana, and were done with integrity and transparency, Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn told the media today, December 2 at his Kingston Office.

Minister Benn was at the time responding to speculations with regards to Government’s link to the jet operated by Executive Jet Club that was seized by Puerto Rican officials last month.

Khamraj Lall, a Guyanese pilot and owner of Executive Jet Club was nabbed after it was discovered that US$620,000, was stashed in the Jet he was operating.

In August 2010, Lall expressed interest in developing a hangar to operate an Executive Jet Service and Air Ambulance Service in Guyana, and in December of the following year, the management of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) received an application for land to construct a hangar to facilitate his aircraft operations.

Minister Benn explained that since Guyana did not have such services, Government thought it was a good opportunity, and after a year of review of the application, a Cabinet paper was presented and in October 2012, the lease approval, to allow for the construction of the hangar, which to date is not completed.

“Such procedure required that the flights be processed on the international apron and must be cleared by customs, immigrations and CANU (Customs Anti Narcotics Unit) and other law enforcement agencies to confirm that the standard operations procedure were followed…At no time in terms of the staff of the CJIA or the Civil Aviation Authority or the other security agencies, was any instruction given to the staff to waive the airport procedures with regards to the exec club staff egress or ingress at the airport,” Minister Benn further noted.

Speaking on the legality of the operations, Minister Benn said that the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) can irrevocably confirm that Exec Jet Club LLC is not a club, but rather a limited liability company. The company was never granted a blanket approval to operate in Guyana, rather approval was granted by the GCAA on a per flight basis.

Exec Jet is authorised to conduct on demand, flights for compensation less than 4 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The company operates two (2) Westwind 1 Jets under Air Carrier Certificate #R6QA548L, and is authorised to operate in South America among other geographic regions such as Central America and Mexico.

 

The security has confirmed that checks were carried out at all times with regards to Exec Jet Club’s staff accessing restricted areas at the airport.

The gate, which allows access to the Exec Jet hangar, is not unique to this type of operation. At present, operators such as Laparkan, Amerijet and Rubis (Fuel Company) have their own gates to their facilities:  While these agencies can access their facilities, they cannot access the airside or restricted areas of the airport without the approval of airport security. Because the construction is yet to be completed, the keys to the gates of the Exec Jet Club hangar are with the CJIA Security Department.

There was contention that Mr. Lall and the passengers of Exec Jet Club were allowed usage of the VIP lounge at CJIA. Minister Benn said that was never the case, however in the case of passengers, the President and his security staff on duty used the lounge during three trips to Antigua, St Vincent and Brazil. There were 18 flights for the year.

“In all of those cases, it was much more economical and on time when compared to other services. It was better to use their services to have a direct flight to your destination. It was a saving when that service was used by the President…I want to dispel any foolish notion with respect to those flights by His Excellency and to say that Guyanese persons with the means and the money could have gone to Exec Jet Club and access the services in like manner,” Minister Benn reiterated.

 

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Image Caption: 

Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn and Permanent Secretary, Balraj Balram, Chief Executive Officer of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) , Ramesh Ghir, and the Director General, Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Zulficar Mohamed durin

Hon. Benn hosts aviation stakeholders' meeting

On July 10, 2014, Minister of Public Works, Hon. Robeson Benn, held a meeting with key stakeholders of the aviation sector to discuss the development of air services and the expansion of Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).

The meeting was held in the Ministry’s Boardroom.

They were informed that CJIA’s expansion is one of Government’s national projects engineered to modernized and improve Guyana as hub for international and regional travel.

Meanwhile, the stakeholders highlighted the existing runway limitations in safety due the absence of Runway Extension Safety Area (RESA) and its inability to accommodate larger wide-body aircraft such the Boeing 747 and 777 aircraft. The stakeholders also expressed concern of terminal congestions and parking space constraints for aircraft, which adversely affect their on-time performance.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the stakeholders agreed:

“International Air Travel plays a critical role in the economic and social development of Guyana hence the urgent need for the continued expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) facility.

We further recognize that the expansion project is the appropriate response to the dire safety, security and efficiency challenges faced at the existing facility and pledge to fully lend our support and expertise to advance the progress of the multi-million dollar national endeavour. 

As key partners in the aviation sector, we undertake to:

Ø  Advancing the growth of the airport

Ø  Maintaining close ties with the Ministry of Public Works and CJIA’s Board and management.

Ø  Ensuring excellence in safety and security of the airport

Ø  Surpassing expectations through a culture of superior customer service

Ø  Operating efficiently with care for the passengers and the facility.

Our collective vision is to bring the CJIA to world standards of hospitality and service and to contribute to the development of the transport sector and Guyana as a whole.”

 

STAKEHOLDERS:

Ø  Carl Stuart, Manager South America, Caribbean Airlines

Ø  James Singh, Head of Customs and Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU)

Ø  Gerry Gouveia, Chief Executive Officer, Roraima Airways, Insel Air, Dynamic Airways, CONVIASA

Ø  Marco Favre, Senior Supervisor, COPA

Ø  David Josiah, Manager, Customs (Timehri)

Ø  Colin Lovell, Airport Manager, Fly Jamaica

Ø  Carl Bowen, Representative, Fly Jamaica

Ø  Janice Clement, Officer in Charge, Immigration (Timehri)

Ø  Orin Walton, Country Manager, LIAT

Ø  Maurice Gajadhar, Chief Executive Officer, New Timehri Handling Service

Ø  Vanessa Kartick, Service Manager, Surinam Airways

Ø  David Goberdhan, Station Manager, Travel Span

Ø  Indranauth Haralsingh, Director, Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA)

Ø  Badrie Persaud, Managing Director, GUYOIL

Ø  Ramesh Dookhoo, Chairman, CJIA Board of Directors

Ø  Ramesh Ghir, Chief Executive Officer, CJIA

Ø  Zulficar Mohamed, Director General, GCAA

Ø  Saheed Sulaman, Air Transport Officer, GCAA

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Image Caption: 

Several critical areas were discussed.

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