UNITED Kingdom-based carrier Virgin Atlantic has set its eyes on Guyana as a travel destination and if all goes well, the airliner could be landing on these shores as early as 2020.
According to Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, the authorities have made initial engagements with Virgin officials on the venture.
Minister Patterson, who was addressing a gathering at the sod-turning ceremony for the construction of the new headquarters of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) on Friday at Providence on the East Bank of Demerara, said that the aviation sector here is expanding and he tied the development to the country’s dozen plus oil discoveries thus far.
“They were on a Skype call to myself and Minister of Finance (Winston Jordan) on them coming here… This is head of the Directors of the airline who deals with routes. He’s going into a meeting and he would like to know what Guyana’s position is, saying (he) would like to put Guyana on (their) routes for 2020,” Minister Patterson said.
Patterson said two other international carriers are expected to operate into Guyana in the coming months. Several months ago, officials of American carrier JetBlue informed its staff that the carrier has plans to expand its flight schedule to include Guyana, with plans carded for operations as early as the first quarter of 2020. As per process, the airline would first have to apply to the GCAA for an air operators certificate (AOC) in order to acquire permission to operate here.
Earlier this year, Virgin Atlantic announced that it was expanding its flights to South America with flights to Brazil. Virgin said that in 2020 it will fly to Sao Paulo in Brazil from London’s Heathrow airport; a journey which last a little under 12 hours . The service will operate on a daily basis as of an unspecified date next year, with the Boeing 787-9 model aircraft.