On Friday, interCaribbean Airways landed its inaugural flight at Guyana’s Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) with 48 passengers on board. Also arriving on the flight was Barbadian Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Lisa Cummings, and the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Donna Cadogan.
Minister of Tourism, Industry, and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, and Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill were present to welcome the passengers.
“We continue to enjoy close ties and collaborations with Barbados, that were cemented with the relationship and the bilaterals between our President and the Prime Minister of Barbados. Senator Cummings said they have agreed that we are going to market Barbados and Guyana jointly in respect of tourism,” Minister Walrond said during a brief welcoming ceremony.
The minister also welcomed the integration of interCaribbean into the Guyanese market. “They have seen that Guyana is on its growth trajectory, that it’s the fastest growing economy in this hemisphere.”
“Eyes are turned to Guyana, bodies are turned to Guyana, the leisure traveller and the business traveller, they’re all coming to Guyana and Guyana is a prime spot, and a prime place for these kinds of investments, and we congratulate interCaribbean for taking the leap, we know that there will be many more, there is space still,” Minister Walrond said.
The minister added, “There is still room for much more air carriers, there is airlift, but this is one testament to our commitment in government to support these kinds of initiatives to give our travellers options, in terms of access to Guyana and access outside of Guyana, to inbound and outbound…”
She noted too, that talks are ongoing with interCaribbean to promote Guyana as a tourist destination.
“I’m extremely pleased and happy when investors like these show confidence in the Guyanese market because we know that they have embraced the vision of where Guyana is going… no longer are we speaking about Guyana in terms of potential but this is indeed potential realised and we are seeing active development and growth.”
Barbadian Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Lisa Cummings is also pleased with the new connection.
“Guyana feels like home, and flying over Guyana it was beautiful, it was stunning and it is a tribute to the partnerships that we have committed to in the tourism industry, where flights, like today’s flight, interCaribbean, direct from Barbados will make it possible.”
She also noted the bilateral agreement for joint destination marketing, joint information bulletins on the countries’ airwaves, and the commitment to provide training of Guyanese in the tourism sector.
The Barbadian minister pointed to the intention to develop trade between the two countries, “so that the two countries are able to identify goods, products in particular that originate in Guyana, and can come and be cold in Barbados and the reverse.”
“This is such a tremendous opportunity for us to develop, not just today’s single flight, from Barbados to Guyana, but also the further development of close relationships,” Cummings said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill also thanked the airline for fulfilling a promise. “We welcome you as a partner for development, Guyana needs greater connectivity,” he said.
“We want to see dozens of airlines operating out of Guyana. I did say to interCaribbean at their launch, competition is good and we encourage competition, but we must also be partners,” minister Edghill said.
“Serve Guyana well, I think the main focus at this time is that people want to have confidence in an airline. Based on what I know there will be several options and convenient flight times, in and out of Guyana with interCaribbean, some days multiple flights and that is what is important, so the Guyanese public should have a good treat.”
Minister Edghill said that the new airline will hire Guyanese. He said, “We are not going to be a government that gives away Guyana, we are going to be a government that develops Guyana. In developing Guyana, we encourage partners, we welcome investments, we respect people who come in and we want them to work with us to uplift our people because we are on a journey to prosper Guyana.”
Trevor Saddler, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of interCaribbean Airways said that the conversation to commence operations in Guyana began five years ago.
The airline was established in 1992 and is based in the Turks and Caicos Islands and has a network of 37 cities across the Caribbean. Flights from Guyana will be able to connect to 13 of those cities through one, two, or three stops.
Saddler said the company is currently working to establish an office at the Giftland Mall and will hire more Guyanese, including pilots. The training of a new class of flight attendants starts on Monday in Georgetown.