First, it was American Airlines. Now the latest presence promised for Guyanese and other travellers is that of Jet Blue Airways. Along with longstanding Caribbean Airlines, this troika of carriers and bringers over Guyana’s skies should make a world of difference for locals. The winds are favourable.
The Guyanese traveller needs relief. Man, woman, and child have endured a tortured history at the hands of those who came and left only bitter tastes in their wake. The list of losses, discomforts and embarrassments (also humiliations) are familiar. It is enough to say that they singed.
The incoming international presences, American Airlines already here, and JetBlue soon, is less about the troubles of the longsuffering Guyanese public, and more about the armies of invaders poised to come seeking fortunes. It is the nature of new oil horizons and frontiers. That is what airlines are readying for and investing planes and presences on the ground.
Open any online publication, and Guyana is emblazoned in one advertisement after another. It is touted and boosted and held out as the latest seductive siren call with surefire promise and surefire riches waiting for the exploiting.
They will come from all over, from capitalist shores depositing their rapacious wildcatters, the sophisticated investment bankers and their goodies for Guyana. They will come from all cardinal points on the compass and bring their greed and ambitions, their ideals and better instincts (hopefully), and all will come with these can’t fail ideas of how Guyana can prosper with the oil in the ground and cash flow in the bank. It is a heady future.
In this the early present, the other shaky hope is that Guyanese do not lose their heads in the process; and with that their shoes, shirt, and underwear. American Airlines and JetBlue will bring all kinds of slick, smart outsiders in droves. This is what, most likely, has emerged from all kinds of market surveys; the projections that have been conducted; and the strategies being finalised. It is the same final, satisfying message absorbed. Guyana is the place to be. Guyana is where to go. Guyana has demand and just the right conditions that are ripe for the capitalising. They will come.
It could be a boon for the Guyanese traveller. It is overdue; with one failure after another, the hour is ripe for a better story. The mere trickledown effects make media announcements of the aviation stalwarts lining up to test the waters a welcome read; and exciting thoughts. A few are worth sharing.
The whole reservation process ought to be more seamless in an electronic process less tainted by conniving human hands. Those are part of the bad memories of the travelling Guyanese public.
Second, fares should align more closely with market realities and the market prices of oil. Oil has hovered in the $50-60 range for the longest while, and yet the price of a roundtrip ticket to most destinations has stayed stubbornly high. Airlines employ market-savvy buying and hedging strategies to insulate against fuel price movements. Still, there has been little give in what citizens pay. Sounds like the price-gouging practices of those who are aware that they do not have robust challengers and hold locals to ransom. It has been a costly one.
Third, the whole check-in, customer service, and related experiences should enjoy some enhancements. Lines moving faster, agents exuding more warmth and cheer (they better had) and leading to Guyanese movers sharing in a new travel experience. The outside entities and people so excited about coming to Guyana now were not coming before, because it was not worth their while, their bottom line. It promises to be so now.
They come now because we should have money to spend (we should, if our political men of character are to be believed), and more of it. If things go according to plan, Guyanese will be the toast of many a corporate boardroom. Nobody wants to be left out.
Guyanese citizens should, therefore, drink up, fasten seatbelts, relax, and enjoy the ride. Let us all hope that it will be a smooth, sweetly satisfying one. Now, if only we could get those passenger bridges up and running…
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