Wednesday 17 July, 2019

Guyana commits to direct flights from Caribbean to Africa

(L-R): Minister of Aviation of Ghana, Joseph Kofi Adda and Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure with responsibility for aviation, Annette Ferguson.

(L-R): Minister of Aviation of Ghana, Joseph Kofi Adda and Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure with responsibility for aviation, Annette Ferguson.

The Governments of Guyana and Ghana signed an agreement in late November which will allow direct flights between the two nations. 

The Air Services Agreement, which was signed on November 23, forms part of an overall initiative to facilitate a more accessible route between the Caribbean and the African states. 

The Agreement was signed by Ghana's Minister of Aviation, Joseph Kofi Adda and Guyana’s corresponding minister Annette Ferguson at the Air Transport Meeting.

Minister Ferguson told the media that the Ghana/Guyana agreement is a positive step towards achieving the air bridge. “It’s setting the foundation to allow airlines between the two countries to operate.” 

Aviation consultant Ramesh Lutchmedial said that it takes about 38 hours minimum from Georgetown, Guyana to Accra, Ghana after passing through North America and England, but this can be reduced to an estimated eight hours if there are direct flights.

Director General of Jamaica Civil Aviation, Nari Williams-Singh stated that Caribbean and African governments need to collaborate more to give their citizens a reason to travel across the continent.

He also explained that persons travelling from Africa would like to touch down in several Caribbean countries and therefore CARICOM should promote a better free movement system.

“In 2007 when we hosted the Cricket Worldcup, you could land in a Caribbean country, you can move easily around as a domestic passenger. After 2007, that went away and I asked my brothers and sisters at Caribbean States, why?” he stated.

Guyana’s Civil Aviation Director-General Egbert Field also highlighted the role of the media in changing the negative perceptions of Africa and the Caribbean. He said too often people perceive Africa as a slum and the Caribbean as crime-ridden.

Other issues to be addressed in order to facilitate demand between both regions included affordable price points and visa-waivers. 

“We have a problem in the Caribbean. We talk but no action. We may come back here in five years and we still talking. So what we lack is the will to do it. So let us all commit and reaffirm to bring all that we have spoken about here today into a reality,” Lutchmedial stated.

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