By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor
GEORGETOWN, Guyana — US low cost carrier, JetBlue, which has indicated its interest in expanding into the Guyana market, is closer to making a decision, according to local media reports. The Guyana ministry of foreign affairs, without naming the airline, has also indicated that talks are still ongoing and that JetBlue will soon send a delegation to Guyana on a fact finding mission.
JetBlue is reportedly concerned with facilities, security and fuel. The cost of jet fuel has been an ongoing issue for airline servicing Georgetown; however, jet fuel price has dropped and that should satisfy the airlines.
According state media, foreign affairs minister, Carl Greenidge, noted at the conclusion of a parliamentary tour of Georgetown’s Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) on Friday that the executives of a “particular airline” had approached government officials in Miami and indicated an interest in operating in Guyana.”
According to the Guyana Chronicle, Greenidge said that “the interested airline’s team is looking at the traffic and facilities, safety and fuel issues and will make a decision after acquiring additional aircraft.”
With the imminent opening of a new and expanded CJIA by December, more airlines are expected to enter the Guyana market. American Airlines will commence service to Guyana in December of this year to serve the business travellers and especially those who will work in the upcoming oil and gas sector of Guyana. Airfares are set at US$900 roundtrip from Miami and First/Business class at over US$4,000.
The foreign minister correctly pointed out, “If you have good enough facilities and prices are reasonable, you will attract demand,” and this means that more people will fly, which will encourage more airlines to service Guyana.
Greenidge echoed what airline officials have said over and over that there are issues pertaining to security that affect the profitability of the airline and he noted that carriers are fined and have to pay a heavy financial penalty.