By Ray Chickrie
GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Qatar, and Guyana signed a liberal air-agreement in Doha on Thursday which will pave the way for cooperation between the two countries in the aviation sector. This development comes at the heels of Guyana’s emerging oil and gas sector. The agreement paves the way for Qatar Airways, to open a regional hub in Georgetown, Guyana.
“In the coming months, a delegation from Qatar will be visiting Guyana to explore business opportunities in the aviation sector to establish a presence in Guyana and to strengthen the Caribbean and Latin America network,” Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said in a press release Thursday.
Recent oil discoveries in Guyana by ExxonMobil and Tullow are estimated at seven billion barrels. American Airlines and Jetblue have entered the Guyana market. KLM is also connecting passengers to Amsterdam and Europe via Paramaribo with an air agreement is sealed with a local airline Guyana.
A release from GCAA said, “Guyana signed an Air Services Agreement with the State of Qatar to promote and facilitate 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. This agreement will create new opportunities for air carriers, enable greater movement of people and goods between the two countries, and benefit the economies and businesses.”
Guyana welcomed the agreement and said, “It is a closer step in the realization of a strong and reliable gulf carrier operating flights to Georgetown.”
This very liberal air agreement will permit Qatar’s national carrier Qatar Airways to operate any number of passenger and cargo flights as well as cooperation between other airlines. Significantly, the agreement permits, “Qatar Airways to have an operation centre in Guyana to fly to any country in the region and other regions as well.”
With a fleet of over 250 very new planes, Qatar Airways flies to 172 international destinations across the world and ranks the world’s best airline. Essentially, Guyana is inviting this mega airline with over 200 planes, to open a hub in Georgetown. Guyana which is in Northern South America borders Brazil; it’s about 6 hours from Dakar, Senegal, and five hours to New York. Guyana has no national carrier.
Meanwhile, Qatar Petroleum has acquired a 40 percent stake in the French energy giant Total in two oil and gas blocks offshore Guyana. In addition, Qatar and Guyana have removed the visa requirement for nationals of both countries.