Caribbean Airlines on Sunday said it received approval and was ready to operate a flight to bring home Guyanese from Barbados and Trinidad last Thursday but that the authorities here did not do what it had to do.
Two days before the flight, Caribbean Airlines said “the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority advised that the necessary processes were not yet completed by the Guyana Authorities and they were unable to provide the listing of nationals for repatriation to Caribbean Airlines; which would facilitate the advertising of the flight and booking of passengers.”
As of now, it is unclear when that flight will be rescheduled for.
Caribbean Airlines Limited said it initially received approval to operate a service between Trinidad, Barbados and Guyana on June 11 and the Guyana Authorities committing to provide a listing of pre-approved Guyanese nationals to the airline.
Director of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority Lieutenant Colonel Egbert Field told the News Room that Caribbean Airlines require 72 hours’ notice to facilitate the flights.
“We are awaiting the submission to us of the list of persons who are being accrued. After revision of the PCR [COVID-19 test results] and we would have cleared up the documents, that list will be sent to us and only then we can make a booking,” he noted.
The documents referred to are completed Repatriation Forms which are available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
He said the GCAA is hoping to get a confirmed list as early as possible but is unsure when the process will be completed to facilitate the flight.
Some Guyanese in Trinidad have complained that they completed their PCR tests on Tuesday last as a negative result is needed 48hrs before their arrival in Guyana but will now have to find money to do a second test which costs approximately GYD$50,000.
To this, Field said persons went ahead with their tests without the necessary confirmation from local authorities.
“You cannot work on a piecemeal kind of system,” he said as he urged Guyanese stranded abroad to await final word on bookings before conducting their PCR tests.
There are 186 Guyanese on the cruise ship off the coast in Barbados, 120 nationals in Trinidad and over 100 in Barbados.
Caribbean Airlines said it remains committed to supporting repatriation efforts for the citizens of Guyana and looks forward to the completion of the processes and the provision of the necessary approvals from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority.
Caribbean Airlines is currently facilitating repatriation flights for nationals of Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, Antigua and Bahamas through June 16 and said it will support further repatriation efforts of Caribbean nationals throughout the region.
The first batch of 109 stranded Guyanese was repatriated on Saturday on a flight from Miami, USA on an Eastern Airlines flight.
Those persons have since been placed on home quarantine for seven days to ensure they do not develop any symptoms of the COVID-19.