Apr 04, 2012 News
– offers direct flights to Miami
By Kristen Macklingam
After six years, Suriname Airways has returned to Guyana and is now offering
non-stop flights to Miami.
The inaugural flight arrived yesterday at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) at 10:00 hrs.
On board were Surinamese President and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Chairperson, Desi Bouterse and a delegation who were welcomed by Guyana’s President, Donald Ramotar, and his delegation.
President Ramotar, moments after the plane touched down on Guyanese soil, stated that history was once more created with the Suriname Airways Flight 737’s arrival at CJIA after many years of absence.
He pointed out that the relationship between Guyana and Suriname continues to grow stronger, while referring to the recent opening of Surinamese insurance company, Assuria, in Guyana.
“Only four days ago I was at a ceremony involving both countries, Suriname’s insurance company in Guyana, the Assuria. This shows that Guyana and Suriname are taking very seriously our commitment towards integration – our countries, economies and integration with CARICOM as a whole. This step of Suriname Airways flying to Guyana and going on to Miami is very important to all of us,” said President Ramotar.
The Head-of-State emphasised the importance of such bilateral agreements, which would help Guyana to further develop as a country and as a CARICOM member.
He said that such an event offers another possibility of developing the tourist industry in Guyana, which Suriname has already been successful in doing.
“Because of our geographical positions, where we are, being Caribbean countries and South American countries, this is another very practical and material step toward having even broader integration of the South… We need more flights directly to our country to encourage the development of tourism, because we have a very good tourist product that we can develop,” said President Ramotar.
He added that with Suriname Airways coming directly to Guyana it offers the country “an easier and faster way” of travelling to Europe, while attracting more European tourists to Guyana.
President Bouterse, in his address to the media, shared President Ramotar’s sentiments.
“This auspicious moment is of special significance because it is another manifestation of the growing friendship and cooperation between Guyana and Suriname. Our countries have pledged to improve the connectivity in South America by air, land and water to facilitate the people by people contact as well as movement of goods.
“Our two countries have made great progress in the field of land connectivity, for example, through implementation of the ferry at South Drain (Suriname) and Springlands (Guyana) and we are currently in the process of weighing our options for the construction of a bridge over the Corentyne River,” said the Suriname President.
Meanwhile, Guyana’s Minister of Public Works, Transport and Hydraulics, Robeson Benn, at the launching ceremony stated that open skies and competitive prices are necessary to maintain the air bridge to North America and develop the Southern air linkages within the Caribbean.
He also pointed out that almost G$1B has already been spent on developing and modernising the tower and air navigation systems at the CJIA, as the country continues to make large investments in developing airport infrastructure.
Presently there is a proposal to build a new airport terminal building which will extend the size of the building from its present 9,000 sq. metres to 14,000 sq. metres and an extension of the runway from 7,500 feet to 10,500 feet.
It was noted that the recent developments at the Ogle International Airport have ensured that the said airport has become a regional hub for international flights.
“There is an allocation in national budget this year of over 4.5 billion dollars towards these expansion works, which would see us being able to continue to facilitate the development in the air transport sector in Guyana and to facilitate the airlines from other countries coming to our country,” said Benn.
He stressed the need for both Guyana and Suriname to ensure travelling is “safe, efficient and cheap enough” so that there can be sustainable operations which will resound to the benefit of both countries.
Such developments are necessary to guarantee the development of economic synergies which will see improvements in both Suriname and Guyana’s bilateral relations as well as the economic development of the nations, he said.
According to Suriname’s Minister of Transport, Industry and Communications, Falisie Pinas, his country and Guyana have a long history of trade cooperation, and this has great spin-off benefits.
“There is sufficient trade between our nations and at this moment visitors from Guyana are the second largest group that is visiting Suriname. In 2012 we had 30,000 Guyanese visitors and in 2011 we had 33,000. With this new route we hope to open doors to more visitors and trade between our two countries and countries across the world. Regional integration and tourism development are two important quality goals of Suriname and transportation can contribute very well in keeping these goals.”
Also present at the ceremony was Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce (ag), Irfaan Ali.
Shortly after the launching ceremony, the flight took off for Miami with a number of Caribbean media operatives on board, along with scheduled passengers.
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