By Ray Chickrie
GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The entrance of JetBlue in the Guyana marketplace has single headedly brought airfares down to a historic low, and that includes the high season. JetBlue one-way fares from NYC to Georgetown, Guyana starts at USD$ 202 with an additional USD$ 30 for a checked piece of luggage; meantime, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana will soon be linked by a Cayenne based airline, to begin service in January 2020.
On Friday, the government of Guyana granted Eastern Airline, the former Dynamic Airways, permission to begin JFK/Georgetown service on December 8. Meanwhile many are asking: Did Dynamic refunded Guyanese passengers who lost money when the airline filed for ‘bankruptcy’?
After JetBlue’s announcement that it will commence daily service from JFK to Guyana in April 2020; American Airlines (AA), which will also commence flights between JFK and Georgetown in December, drastically dropped airfares on the routes. American Airlines airfares on the same route is about USD$ 234 one way, and a one-way from Georgetown to JFK starts at about USD$ 304.
Copa has also dropped airfares between NYC and Guyana via its Panama City hub. Those fares start at USD$ 236 one way, and the Panama based carrier is now flying daily to Guyana.
A roundtrip ticket from JFK to Guyana non-stop range from USD$ 482 with JetBlue: $512 with American Airlines and Caribbean Airlines (CAL) USD$ 736. CAL also drastically dropped fares between Toronto and Georgetown with fares starting at USD$ 447 return via its Port-of-Spain hub.
CAL now faces competition on the JFK/Guyana route. This was never the case in the past 50 years. Guyana is a major profit-earning route for CAL. This is another headache for CAL, finally out of the red.
People whose final destination is Suriname are also looking to fly to their homeland via Guyana to save money on American and JetBlue. From Guyana overland, they will take a ferry to Suriname.
Besides, airfares between Guyana and Western Europe capitals like London has dropped to USD$ 900 return via American Airline and its partners.
By 2021, United Airlines may link Guyana with its Houston hub; Air Canada Rouge is expected to enter the Guyana market and a European airline is also looking to profit from Guyana’s potential oil and gas surge.
Surinam Airways (SLM) has also filed the necessary paperwork to add Toronto and New York City to its network. Qatar Airways is also interesting in making Guyana a hub, which has now drawn the attention of Emirates Airlines.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Guyana, a country of about 780,000 in South America, will see economic growth of 86 percent in 2020.
“Oil revenues are expected to climb from zero to almost $631 million by 2024, according to the IMF. The income per capita will more than double by next year, topping $10,000. Overall, its economy is projected to grow by 86 percent next year — 14 times China’s projected growth rate.”
Bloomberg News said that in five years, Guyana’s national output is expected to reach 750,000 barrels a day, making Guyana Latin America’s fourth-largest oil producer and perhaps the world’s largest per capita oil power, generating a barrel per person daily.
The government plans to invest some of this oil money into the tourism sector. Guyana will host the first “Three Guianas Tourism Expo” in 2020 as the Guianas make an effort to jointly market their unique tourism product to the world.
“My dream of transforming Guyana into a new and the greenest tourism destination on earth is slowly being shaped and coming to life,” former Suriname ambassador to the UN Henry MacDonald, said.