Angry words of frustration were expressed by Guyanese travelers who were stranded at Cheddi Jagan International Airport after startup Dynamic Airways cancelled its Sunday morning flight fresh on the heels of its inaugural launch on Thursday 26 with a promised scheduled $499.00 round trip ticket.
The North Carolina-based charter in partnership with Guyana’s Rorima Airways, which transported the media, travel agents and guests on its flight to Georgetown, cancelled the Sunday, June 29 return without informing passengers, many of whom had to purchase tickets on other carriers to return to New York.
Stranded in-bound passengers on the other hand were bussed to Atlantic City International Airport from JFK for a flight that arrived in Georgetown against outrage that the carrier could not park its 767 aircraft at Terminal 1 according to an agreement that fell through with Fly Jamaica.
Marketing and Customer Relations Manager Franklyn “Bobby” Vieira who accompanied passengers to Atlantic City to process their departure, stated to news agencies that he believes that it was the first time in Guyana’s aviation history that an international airline ensured that so many stranded passengers were flown to their destination rather than await the fixing of all administrative arrangements.
The airline hit major snafus, first with passengers being shuttled to the aircraft that was parked away from the terminal and second, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) held up the plane for four hours to match the baggage manifest against passengers, a screw-up caused by baggage handlers. That company was later fired.
Franklyn Vieira, at that time was confident that the airline would fly smoothly and hoped that the Guyanese Diaspora and global travelers in general would support the carrier.
During an in-flight interview, Vieira praised the flexibility of the airline and said Guyanese would have the opportunity to select their time of departure and their carrier.
“What is important is the quality of service, which people are looking forward to. We had a little delay today but we were able to explain to the passengers why we were delayed. It was legitimate because of the circumstances we had to deal with. This will not be an everyday event,” said the executive.
But former Guyana Airways General Manager Egerton Griffith is not so sure that the carrier will last in the market simply because there is more capacity than passengers.
“Staying in the market could be somewhat difficult because this carrier has in excess of 200 seats, and with a four times a week schedule, I could invision difficulty flying at a full capacity, in addition to the other carriers that are flying the same route.
“The fact that people will have the opportunity to choose between four carriers is good for the consumer. However, I wonder how profitable it would be for four carriers on a route like this, because from my past knowledge of this route it is not a lucrative one,” said William “Billy” Braithwaite, former manager of North American and Guyana Airways.
But Brooklyn businessman Edgar Henry is confident that Dynamic Airways will stay in the market, and explained that other carriers stop in Trinidad or Jamaica while most travelers want to get to the U.S. as soon as possible.
“Five hours in the air is very long and to prolong the trip by stopping for an extra hour or more is not very convenient.”
Henry praised passengers on the flight for staying calm during the lengthy stay at the gate, and added that everyone was eager to come on the flight, and even though the $499.00 fare is attractive, he feels it will increase in order for the carrier to survive in the market.
He hopes that the increase would be less than the other carriers so that Dynamic Air would stay in business, giving customers and opportunity to gravitate to the new service. “I wish them all the best,” he added.
Looknauth Persaud, Georgetown-based owner of Kings Jewelry World Guyana, expressed concern for the monopoly in travel to Guyana that hold passengers at ransom with high fares. He feels if carriers such as Dynamic encourage people with low fares to come to Guyana, the tourism industry would benefit greatly.
“This is a blessing in disguise,” said Persaud who noted that the carrier will not only provide competitive fares, but it will make things easier for Guyanese in NY to receive fresh produce via the carrier that will airlift cargo as part of its weekly schedule.
“This will also generate more business for the airline,” he added.