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Guyana’s New Oil Discovery Expected to Help Grow Aviation and Tourism Industry

Guyana's Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson (Photo via Guyana Times)

Guyana’s Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson (Photo via Guyana Times)

Georgetown, Guyana — Guyana is set to grow tremendously in the coming year after a second offshore well confirmed a mega discovery of oil and gas, and the aviation sector, which has been neglected for decades, is now getting a lot of attention from the government.

Just this week, the government advertised for a feasibility study of the impact of the aviation industry on the local economy. The government for decades has struggled to attract world class airlines to Guyana.

A few years ago the Inter-American Development Bank concluded a study on the aviation sector of Guyana that dealt mostly with policy, security, compliance and connectivity. Guyana is poorly connected by air with the wider global community, the report found.

Guyana is among the last of the Guyanas to discover commercial quantities of oil. A few years ago, French Guiana discovered a major oil field off its coast. Suriname is already an oil producer. These developments may change the region tremendously and aviation will grow, experts predict.

The Guyanas now want to cooperate in developing and marketing their tourism industry and both governments have talked a lot about creating air hubs in their respective countries.

There is discussion about bringing back Guyana Airways and the prime minister of Guyana, Moses Nagamootoo, said to the press earlier this year that the idea of resurrecting the airline isn’t dead. People in government are talking about it and, now, with the discovery of offshore oil by Guyana, the green and gold national colors may soon fly again.

This week the government announced the approval and set a timeline for the completion of the modernization and expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. A longer runway to accommodate larger aircraft is under construction.

Minister of infrastructure, David Patterson, shared the revised plan of the airport with the public. He said that a new arrival terminal will be built, additional apron and parking areas, and the old terminal will be integrated with the new terminal for departing passengers. Completion of all work is scheduled for December 2017.

Aviation policy, safety, security and compliance are being addressed by the government, which hosted an international aviation conference in 2015. These areas were highlighted as required to move Guyana forward. However, Guyana is facing severe shortage of expertise in these fields to get the job done. The new government is also still setting up its administration.

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