The United Kingdom’s flag carrier, British Airways, is expected to commence flights to Guyana’s Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) in the first quarter of 2023. The expected start date is March 23, 2023.
It is anticipated that the airline service will ply the Guyana route twice weekly through a connection via the Caribbean island of St. Lucia using a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft catering for 332 passengers per flight.
This was announced by Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill during a press conference held at the Ministry’s Wight’s Lane, Kingston, Georgetown office on Wednesday.
Edghill said it is a “proud and exciting day” for Guyana and Guyana’s relationship with the United Kingdom as tickets go on sale immediately for flights to and from Guyana and London.
“British Airways is the new carrier to enter the Guyana market starting today August 10 tickets go on sale,” Edghill said.
“Today’s announcement and the start of selling of tickets is to ensure adequate lead time and a proper roll-out of this service,” the Public Works Minister said.
Speaking about the aircraft type, Edghill noted this puts into perspective the reason why the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government did not accept the airport expansion as it was when they assumed office in 2020.
In December 2020, after four months of resisting the government’s request to have the CJIA expansion project completed in accordance with the initial contract, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) agreed to foot a US$9 million bill for additional work at the airport.
“With the extensions, we were able to get China Harbour to put in place at their cost which will accommodate the Code D and Code E type aircraft we can now accommodate these huge wide-body carriers bring 332 passengers at a time,” Edghill said.
He hailed the feat as a “game changer” in the Guyana market as it is almost doubling the current standards provided by other aircraft carriers.
Sharing brief remarks at the press conference, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond said that the new service will be of benefit to the over 30,000 Guyanese living in the UK in addition to visitors.
“When we engaged the diaspora in the UK, that was something that they particularly bemoaned that they cannot have a direct flight from the UK to home,” she said adding that the new service will also service Guyana’s vast tourism industry.
Meanwhile, British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller said the arrival of British Airways in Guyana reflects growing confidence globally in Guyana in the tourism industry and as an economic hub for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Also present at the press conference was the Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CJIA Ramesh Ghir.