June 8, 2020 7:14 pm
Written by Civil Aviation
GCAA hosts online conference in preparation for phased reopening of airports
The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) hosted an online conference called Airinar under the theme Path to Clear Skies, as it launched its four-phase plan to reopen Guyana’s international airports to facilitate incoming and outgoing international flights, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference was hosted on June 8, 2020 using the GoTo Meeting platform.
Airinar was attended by approximately 95 participants representing stakeholders from the domestic and international airline industry, and international regulatory bodies such as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Minister within the Ministry of Public infrastructure, Hon. Jaipaul Sharma opened the conference and highlighted some of the steps taken by the Government to address the pandemic and its effects on the aviation industry, including the drafting of Standard Operating Procedures to guide aviation stakeholders on the measures and practices which are expected to aid in reduction in exposure to Covid-19 while complementing the resumption of aviation-related activities.
Several stakeholders spoke of what measures are being implemented to facilitate the movement to passengers through the two international airports to combat the spread of COVID-19 including fumigation of check-in and arrival, immigration and customs areas; erecting sanitization stations at entrances/exit, port health booths for passenger evaluation and disinfection and sanitization; placing signages and social distance markings and re-assigning seating arrangements, installation of thermal imaging equipment to monitor passenger temperatures; and enhancement of crowd control protocols, among others.
Director General of the GCAA, Lt. Col. (ret’d) Egbert Field, outlined the Authority’s four phase plan to reopen the country’s airport to international passengers. Col. Field noted that the reopening of these important ports will depend on the state of readiness by the other international ports where flights for Guyana originates.
The four phase reopening plans proposed by the GCAA comprises first phase called Planning which runs for approximately three-four weeks and includes the facilitation of repatriation flights, special authorised flights, outgoing flights, technical stops, medevac flights, training and development of Regulations and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for aviation personnel and aircraft operators; the second phase called Implement which runs from July 1 to July 31, 2020 will see the reopening of the airports for limited flights for incoming citizens, permanent residents, international workers, diplomats and international agencies.
The Expand phase is the third phase which runs from August 1 to December 31, 2020 and entails the expansion of the number of flights coming to Guyana, and the removal of travel restrictions from different states. The Director General noted that the final phase will depend on several factors including the readiness of the other States, the removal of travel restrictions by those States and the number of active COVID-19 cases in Guyana and other countries and ports of origin of flights to Guyana.
The final phase is anticipated to start in January 2021 is expected to run for a period of three months. Other presenters at the forum included American Airlines, Trans Guyana Airways, LIAT, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Inc, Eugene F. Correia International Airport, Roraima Airways, Guyana Tourism Authority, and the Ministry of Public Health.
The topics discussed were centered on four areas, the regulatory environment, pre-boarding and passenger movement, readiness for take-off and connecting the dots with tourism.