Airports likely to fully re-open in late 2020 or early 2021

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Director-General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Colonel (rt’d) Egbert Field said Guyana’s international airports will likely fully re-open in late 2020 or early 2021.

“We are looking at finally opening the airports if not later in this year, maybe early next year. One of the main things is gaining the confidence of the flying public with what we put in place,” Mr Field told the News Room Tuesday.

He explained that the airports will be reopened in four phases and that the Civil Aviation Authority is in the process of finalising the standard operating procedures which is part of the first phase.

Mr Field noted that reopening the airports and by extension the economy is not an easy exercise, noting that it has to be done in a regulated manner where passengers feel safe to travel.

Measures will also have to be put into place on how airlines should operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you find passengers not adhering to some of the procedures, you have regulations to govern and bring them into compliance,” Mr Field said.

A screening initiative whether manual or digital will be put in place and the airports will also be sanitized routinely.

Guyana is now entering a “soft-opening” stage where a limited amount of repatriation flights can operate.

“We have a second phase where we will start inviting international workers, diplomats and international agencies,” Mr Field said.

The third phase will expand and allow tourists to enter the country. Mr Field said each phase will depend on the previous one which will ultimately determine whether to fully re-open the airports.

Meanwhile, the aviation industry worldwide is losing billions of dollars as a result of restrictions implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Guyana is only operating with about 5% of international air traffic.

“In relation to Guyana we can tell from aircraft flying overhead, we have lost as much as 95% of our overflights,” Mr Field said.

Guyana stopped all incoming flights on March 17 to bar the importation of positive COVID-19 cases. The closure was subsequently extended to June 3 and now to June 17.

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