Inspection has been carried out on four aircraft manufactured in the 1970s that the Government plans to procure for security operations by Guyana Defence Force (GDF).
Minister of State Joseph Harmon told reporters yesterday that the inspections were favourable.
“The aircraft were inspected and the team of inspectors sent back a very positive report about the condition of the aircraft. They believe that we have a very good buy,” Harmon explained.
He also expressed confidence in the quality of the team that conducted the inspections.
Earlier this month, Government secured Parliamentary approval for an additional $484M towards the purchase of four fixed-wing aircraft – two Islanders and two Skyvans – for the GDF. A down payment of $213M was made by the GDF.
It was disclosed that the Islanders were first manufactured in 1976 while Skyvans were first manufactured in 1977. Both models are no longer being manufactured.
“These are tried and tested aircraft all around the world. In fact, here in Guyana there is a large fleet of that type of aircraft and people have them they don’t sell them,” Harmon pointed out.
The Skyvans, are being brought from Belgium through Liberty Aviation, an American company that operates from North Carolina. The Islanders, according to Harmon, are being purchased from Brazil who previously utilized the planes for passenger and cargo services.
Harmon pointed out that there is no single statement which indicates that the aircraft are expected to last for a specific period. He noted that the mainframe is very solid while the engine and fuselage may have different life spans. These are replaceable parts and are changed ever so often.
Harmon noted that mechanical and engine parts are usually replaced periodically.
Former GDF pilot, Captain Gerald (Gerry) Gouveia, has warned about the need for Government to develop an effective plan to source parts for the four aircraft.
“For the Skyvans, there are some concerns because even for the current Skyvan that [the GDF] has, if you check the time that the airplane is serviceable and the length of time, sometimes you have to wait to get parts, it is a challenge. Acquiring parts is a challenge, but I hope that they have a plan and I have to believe that they have a plan,” Gouveia stated.
The former army pilot has extensive experience in the aviation sector. He told Kaieteur News that the planes being purchased by the army are very suited for Guyana. He noted that the Government appears to have made the decision to purchase the planes based on economic considerations.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, has indicated that the new planes will be used solely for security purposes, but Gouveia said that this has not been the case in the past.
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