(INEWS)The long anticipated British Airways touched down at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri on Monday for the official launch of its twice weekly flights to Guyana via the St Lucia route.
Using a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, British Airways has the capacity to carry 332 passengers.
Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, while delivering remarks at a welcoming ceremony at the airport, reflected on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Guyana’s aviation industry, chronicling the transition from that dire state to the continuous advancement in the sector.
Government’s dedication to the modernisation of Guyana’s main entry point once again bears fruit, as the country’s air traffic has advanced 25 per cent above its pre-pandemic numbers.
“We are growing. And we will continue to grow. So, there are two things we’re doing. We’re expanding facilities at the airport, and we are growing routes,” the public works minister said.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Minister within the Public Works Ministry, Deodat Indar, who added that government’s aggressive policy-driven approach to development and heavy investments are seeing hordes of people coming into Guyana.
Minister Indar noted, “Guyanese should be proud that what we have now is an environment that can bring more aircraft from different destinations. For an investment decision to fly the Guyana route, it took some amount of doing, some amount of calculation, and some amount of confidence in Guyana, and I am hoping that other airways follow suit as British Airways did to fly this route.”
This further enhances the country’s connectivity to the Caribbean and the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond said that the introduction of the flights presents a myriad of opportunities for Guyana, including those for additional partnerships.
She said, “Connecting the world to Guyana remains a priority of this government. We see Guyana as an active part of a global travel network, and we are continually engaging major airlines with a view to encouraging them to serve this destination. Our pursuit of airline connectivity is part of a wider strategic economic objective to make Guyana easily and affordably accessible to all business in all sectors, including the leisure and pleasure travel sector.”
British High Commissioner, Jane Miller, relayed that this is a transformative step in strengthening the relationship between the UK and Guyana.
The direct flights are prefaced by the visa-free travel to the United Kingdom, announced late last year. This move to further strengthen government-to-government and people-to-people relations allows for Guyanese to visit the UK for up to 180 days or six months without the requirement of a visitor’s visa.