Mar 04, 2018 News
Daily, there are more revelations of the moves the Correia family is making as they regulate the Eugene F. Correia International Airport as well as operate its airline out of that facility.
Other domestic operators are growing weary “because not only are they (the Correias) taking up all business opportunities and grabbing the land, they are now putting other operators in danger.”
Ogle Airport Inc (OAI) is controlled by the Correia family—particularly Michael Correia and his sister, Nicole.
Michael Correia also owns Trans Guyana Airways.
OAI has allowed Trans Guyana Airways to park its largest aircraft on the airport’s apron. This apron is used by both international and domestic airlines for them to taxi before taking off. Trans Guyana parks its aircraft there while it rents its hangar and parking ramp to Bristow Helicopters Limited for that company to park its four aircraft.
Bristow is the foreign helicopter service provider that ExxonMobil hired without a local tendering process to work in Guyana.
Whilst Trans Guyana happily rents its ramp to the foreign company and continues to use the terminal ramp, the other operators at the airport with their collective 52 aircraft are left no option but to endure long costly delays due to the congestion.
Kaieteur News understands that the developmental plan that OAI had submitted to Government outlines that there would have been facilities for domestic and international operations on separate sides of the runway.
“This never happened and with the international airlines now operating on the terminal ramps there are massive congestion and related safety concerns.”
Numerous safety concerns were brought to the attention of the airport management to no avail.
In addition to the safety concerns, domestic operatives are saying that the very rental of the Trans Guyana hanger is unethical.
It is especially unfair that OAI would allow Trans Guyana to rent its hanger to a foreign company when OAI knows that there are several local small operators who are desperately trying to get land from OAI to build their hangers.
These small operators are being denied land while the Correias grab all for themselves only to now rent one of the spots to a foreign company, said one operator.
Kaieteur News understands that OAI Chairman, Michael Correia, continues to refuse to meet with small operators who are trying to get their hands on land.
OAI was further besmirched in the eyes of domestic operators when they read in the press what the Correias had to say about its relationship with ExxonMobil.
OAI had said that it is still in discussion with ExxonMobil about the 10 acres of prime land that it was getting ready to lease to company. This was said despite the fact that OAI land development plan has a clear area demarcated for ExxonMobil.
“How could they say that they are still in discussion when they have already demarcated an area for ExxonMobil; while the trees have begun to die and while they are already renting space to Bristow?” asked one operator.
Michael Correia has said that the trees have begun to die from a natural phenomenon. He has endeavoured to send his in-house environmentalist to the area to investigate the matter.
Also, while OAI claims that it is still in discussion with ExxonMobil and is yet to sign any documents, ExxonMobil claims that it has signed “an agreement with Ogle Airport Inc. expressing mutual interest in potentially sub-leasing approximately 10 acres of land for an extended period”.
However, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission has not given OAI the go-ahead to sublease the land to ExxonMobil.
An aviation operative insists that the present management and governance structure of the airport is in need of attention as “it is unheard of an international airport being regulated by an operator”.
The operators at that port are complaining about the advantage being taken upon them. They speak of the astronomical rental fee being charged, the disadvantageous distribution of lands and general misuse of state land by one family—the Correias.
The Correias also own at least three companies operating out of the Eugene F Correia International Airport. These companies are Trans Guyana Limited, Correia Mining Company and Caribbean Aviation and Maintenance Services.
It is being reported that those companies are given first preference to lands and other services provided by the airport.
OAI is in control of 441 acres of state land, which it has been leased for 25 years – extendable for two further periods of 25 years.
The land was leased in 2003 without any public notice. There was no public transparent process; neither was there a public bidding process.
Recently, former government Minister Manzoor Nadir spoke of the generosity of the state in leasing the lands to OAI and contributing to the development of the port. He said that as a result, the nation should be benefiting more.
OAI’s Public Relations Consultant, Kit Nascimento, later responded, saying that the state did not invest a penny. He said, “Phase I of the development under the Lease Agreement was successfully completed in 2009, when scheduled passenger operations commenced. Not a penny of state money was invested.”
However, the facts say different.
The Government of Guyana, during the reign of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) expended just about $30M to relocate squatters during phase one of the airport project.
Phase Two was financed by a grant of €1.5M from the European Development Fund to the Government of Guyana which was converted into a soft loan to OAI with a generous long term repayment schedule.
The Government also made significant investment in the Air Traffic Control tower to the value of $50M. Further, the government expended $187M to relocate the NCN tower from Sparendaam in order that the airport could be cleared for international flights
The Ministry of Public Infrastructure resurfaced the road from Railway Embankment to Ogle Airport.
All the government services provided, such as the Guyana Fire Service, Air Traffic Control, Customs, Immigration and Police are all funded by the State.
As recent as two months ago, the Guyana Energy Agency installed solar panels on the terminal building at the Airport.
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