Fly Jamaica Gets Green Light for Guyana Flights

Fly Jamaica Airways is set to triple its flight operations after the Guyana Government approved the plans of the carrier to inaugurate links to the USA and Canada from Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Georgetown.  The verdict was announced earlier this month and the carrier is now working to formalise its flight operations and source additional aircraft to operate the flights.

Following an extensive evaluation of its operational plans by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon said that Fly Jamaica met with all the required criteria to operate from the sovereign state on the northern coast of South America, one of the few Caribbean countries that is not an island. 

The carrier plans to introduce flights before the end of year to both New York and Toronto where there are sizeable Guyanese diasporas – figures from five years ago show that New York was home to more than 130,000 persons of Guyanese descent – and is now set to lodge a financial bond with the GCAA and finalise its application for a foreign operator’s permit in Guyana.

The airline’s proposed markets out of Georgetown are already served by Caribbean Airlines on a four times weekly basis to New York and twice weekly to Toronto but there is potential for additional capacity as up until May this year Delta Air Lines also flew between Georgetown and New York on a four times weekly basis. 

In 2012 an estimated 139,000 O&D bi-directional O&D passengers flew between Georgetown and New York’s JFK International Airport, while approximately 49,000 passengers flew between Georgetown and Toronto’s Lester B Pearson International Airport.  Interestingly, point-to-point demand between Georgetown and New York increased 41.1 per cent from 2011 to 2012.  Our analysis shows that Delta carried around 46,000 O&D passengers on the route in 2012 (plus more passengers connecting at New York JFK) and Fly Jamaica will aim to secure a significant share of this traffic.

Delta had inaugurated flights between Georgetown and New York in June 2008 but closed the route from May 6, 2013 due to poor performance.  “Although Delta would prefer to continue serving the market, flights between Georgetown and New York’s JFK International Airport have experienced a significant decline in passenger loads and revenues for the past 18 months, leading to unsustainable losses.  We have made the difficult decision to eliminate our Georgetown service to better focus our resources on profitable markets,” said a carrier spokesperson at the time.

Fly Jamaica has already shown it can compete effectively in the North American market.  The start-up inaugurated services in February this year on the Kingston – New York route using a single Boeing 757-200, where it competes with both Caribbean Airlines and JetBlue Airways  The jet is configured in a two class arrangement seating 12 Business Class and 186 Economy passengers and serves the route on a four times weekly basis.

The business is a partnership between Chief Executive Officer and Guyanese-born Captain Paul Ronald Reece, and Jamaican shareholders, including Chief Operating Officer, Captain Lloyd Tai and Manager of In-Flight Services, Christine Steele. It was incorporated in Kingston, Jamaica on September 7, 2011 with a dream to create a truly regional airline, using local talent and with an emphasis on providing a truly local experience to its customers – in essence a  full-service, local airline that would bring the Diaspora, and the world to the Caribbean.

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