IN 2007, the rating stood at 42% and in 2016, Guyana scored 66% following an audit of the sector by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Last week, following another safety oversight audit, the percentage climbed further to 76.9%, a figure which aviation professionals point to improvement in various aspects of the management of the sector by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
The recent statistic was confirmed by Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Egbert Field, during a public forum in the United States over the weekend.
Personnel within the aviation circle have noted that the recent rating increases the country’s chances of applying for Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) Category One status operations, a stringent process, which once achieved, provides for direct flights between these shores and North America.
According to the FAA, in order to attain a Category One rating, countries with air carriers that fly to the United States must adhere to the safety standards of ICAO, the United Nations’ technical agency for aviation that establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.
In 2002, Guyana was downgraded to Category Two rating as the country failed to meet the required rating. However, Field has set the tone for improving the all-round capability of the local aviation umbrella body.
In recent years, the GCAA has been working to improve several areas of its operation in order for the country’s aviation sector to be fully compliant with international requirements.
In 2017, ICAO presented Guyana with the Council President Certificate after gaining recognition for making significant progress in resolving its safety oversight deficiencies and improving the Effective Implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs).
Already, the efforts of the aviation umbrella body have been bearing fruit as a number of international air carriers have been applying to operate to these shores, the latest being American carrier, JetBlue. The popular carrier is expected to start operations between the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and New York from April this year.
Guyana has also signed onto several air services agreement with a number of countries, including Qatar.
The GCAA said that the agreement with Qatar, which was signed last September, is aimed at promoting and facilitating airlines of Guyana and Qatar to operate any number of services between both countries as well as beyond to any third country, with no restrictions on capacity, frequency, aircraft type and routing.
Last December, a delegation which was led by the GCAA Director General, participated in the twelfth International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Air Services Negotiation Event (ICAN2019) which was held in Aqaba, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from December 2nd to 6th 2019.
Following negotiations at the event, air services agreements were signed with Senegal, Seychelles, The Bahamas, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Greece and Spain.
The aviation body explained that the objective of ICAO Air Services Negotiation Event is to provide states with a central meeting place to conduct bilateral -regional or plurilateral- air services negotiations and consultations with other member states of ICAO.
Field noted recently that the aviation sector is expanding, with a number of large helicopters operating within the country as testimony to this expansion.
Over the weekend, he said that a number of other international carriers “are knocking on the door” but he noted that the GCAA is carefully examining the interested parties to ensure no fly-by-night operators are allowed into the local aviation market.
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