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CAL losing passengers to other airlines?

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Statistics from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) have shown a 10% decrease in passengers travelling with Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) during the year 2016. This is the case even though other long-serving and new airlines have recorded increased passenger numbers.

CAL was granted National flag carrier status by local authorities.

Giving an outline of the CJIA’s performance for 2016, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ramesh Ghir, disclosed that Copa Airlines almost doubled its traffic with the increase in the number of weekly flights and Suriname Airways, Fly Jamaica, Insel Air and Dynamic Airlines also recorded increased passenger numbers.

Copa Airlines which operates from Guyana to Panama saw a 97% increase in passenger movement, Fly Jamaica recorded a 79% increase; Suriname Air recorded a 65% increase; Dynamic Airways recorded a 23% increase and Insel Air recorded a 16% increase.

CAL, on the other hand, saw a 10% decrease even as it remains the country’s biggest carrier with a 54% market share.

According to Ghir, CAL’s reduction may be as a result of a reduction in the number of flights out of the CJIA. It is believed that the Airlines’ duty-free restrictions and baggage allowances are the deterring factors.

Last year also saw an increase in airline carriers out of the CJIA with the introduction of Eastern Airlines, Fly All Ways and Easy Sky which moved a total of 30, 500 passengers.

Overall, the CJIA processed 572,000 returning Guyanese and visitors, a 14 percent increase in arrivals. The CEO credited an increase in passengers to the celebration of Guyana’s 50th independence anniversary which was observed in May 2016.

There was a shift in arrival destination. Ghir said while the North American market (New York, Canada, Miami) continues to occupy the majority of traffic, it has declined to 77 percent from 80 percent last year. Cubans and Panamanians were identified as new arrivals.

Income for the airport fell short of its $1.3B by $9M, however, it saw an increase of 13% when compared to 2015.

Expenditure at the airport also increased in 2016 to $919M or 20 percent more than in 2015. Ghir credited additional staffing and infrastructural maintenance at the airport as the reasons for the increased expenditure.

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