Jan 06, 2015 News
…10 delays, two cancellations later, company not out
By: Zena Henry
To say that Dynamic Airways’ delay woes will stop is not a statement one can unconsciously make in the aviation sector, said Captain Gerry Gouveia. Capt Gouveia is the local representative of the delay-plagued carrier.
He addressed media operatives at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) VIP lounge on Sunday,
days after a prolonged period of flight delays that went well into the peak Christmas and New Year holidays. More than 200 Guyanese passengers were left stranded on both ends of the Georgetown (GEO)/ New York (NY) route.
Gouveia explained that the delays which occurred during the season were “unfortunate and sad,” especially for those passengers who were unable to travel because of the company’s cancellations on Christmas Eve and Old Year’s Night.
The local representative told media workers that 6000 passengers flew with Dynamic for the season. Out of 40 flights operated during that period, two were cancelled. However, of the 38 flights, Gouveia estimated that 10 were delayed.
With a more than rough experience since the company started on the GEO/NY route, a New Year with a new start was hinted at, when Captain Gouveia spoke with Kaieteur News.
While the company is yet to convince the Guyanese public about its reliability, Gouveia reiterated that “the agency is working every day to better the service it gives to Guyana.”
Dynamic Airways is a massive company now feeling its way into the Guyanese market and at the same time, transforming from a charter to a scheduled service. The scheduled service, Gouveia said, needs a lot more work and consideration than a charter service.
He said that the transition from charter to schedule service may be one of the stumbling blocks for the company. “The arrangement is very different. When you are operating a charter, they don’t run with the same kind of oversight… the amount of support system you need on the ground to run those flights is not like charter.
“And that’s where I think they ended up not doing the amount of pre-planning that ought to have been done.”
Gouveia clarified that none of the delays pertained to previous issues faced when the company had started mid-last year. He said that all the documentation and permissions have been obtained for the flight operations so flight slots and ground handlers are in place. He said that the delays, along with the cancellations, were all related to safety.
He said that the company has a positive safety record and is in no way willing to jeopardize that. On one occasion, a pilot had refused to fly from New York to Guyana because of icy conditions, and the flight was delayed. This is just one of the possible situations that cause delays. “There are various issues that can occur in this business and not get the desired outcome,” he explained.
Gouveia believes that Dynamic Airways is being treated unfairly. Its shortcomings are widely publicized without understanding the workings of the operation, he said.
On Sunday, Caribbean Airlines was at the time on the CJIA tarmac and had loaded its passengers and was preparing to taxi before takeoff. However, the plane had to be pulled back into its parking spot after something delayed it.
Gouveia used the incident to make the point that the aviation sector is a risky one and unforeseen difficulties are usually at the helm of flight delays. Gouveia reiterated, however, that despite all of Dynamic’s trouble, “the airline is 100 percent committed, and in terms of (air) fares…it is here for the long haul; so it is not here to try and make a dollar and run away.”
Gouveia said that Dynamic Airways stabilized airfares in the market, while pointing to exorbitant airfares that Guyanese passengers were subjected to pay in 2013, when CAL commanded the market with the pull out of America’s Delta Airlines.
Gouveia said that after the Guyana Airways Corporation (GAC), Dynamic is the next best thing that has happened to Guyana. He said that the company has done exactly what Delta did and that is, balancing airfares. The company is too big to be challenged, Gouveia opined, before stating that it would be unwise for other operators to raise airfares when Dynamic with its massive operation can maintain a certain price range.
Dynamic’s local rep stated that currently, Dynamic’s planes and backups are operational. He reminded that in another one of Dynamic’s misfortune spells, some of the company’s planes; including those that come to Guyana were in for regular maintenance and later, those operated at backups were also due for maintenance while the others were still being worked on.
However, this is over and Dynamic expects to give Guyana “all the backup that Dynamic has always promised, so there will be two planes,” working the route. The company has also received legal documents relating to disgruntled passengers suing them. Gouveia said that the agency’s lawyers are currently looking at it in the US.
Outside of this, 25 Guyanese were chosen during Dynamic’s job search at Duke Lodge last year, and returned with the company on Sunday as Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved flight attendants. The trained attendants explained how exciting the new job is and shared a few experiences after operating in the Middle-East and other Eastern destinations where Dynamic operates. Another 25 trainees are expected to commence their training soon.
Captain John Mc Hugh was also part of the Dynamic press conference. He was operating the outgoing flight at the time when he explained that he is a former GAC pilot and had not returned to Guyana for some 35 years.
He said how impressed he was with the newly trained Guyanese flight attendants. He said up to meeting them, he always thought Japan Airlines had the best service in the world, followed by Jet Airways out of India, “… The service you get from especially the cabin staff is by far the best I have seen in the world,” he stated.
The media was also welcomed on board Dynamic’s wide body Boeing 767-300 jet which carries up to 260 passengers. Sunday’s flight left with some 220 passengers, Gouveia had stated.
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