interCaribbean Airways (JY, Providenciales) is set to make its mainland South American debut after the Guyanese government granted it fifth and seventh freedom traffic rights at Georgetown Cheddi Jagan airport.

Speaking during an engagement with travel agents in the capital Georgetown on May 3, 2021, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill confirmed the award but did not reveal a start-up date. This follows the government’s approval of route rights to Suriname's Fly All Ways in March this year, local media reported.

“We are engaging new airlines to come to Guyana. We have just approved, at the level of Cabinet, two new airlines, Fly All Ways and interCaribbean Airways. There are applications of other airlines that we are considering,” Edghill said, adding he planned to engage with Virgin Atlantic (VS, London Heathrow).

He was confident that expansion of Georgetown Cheddi Jagan, the nation’s national airport located about 41km south of the capital, could attract more international flights and become a hub for regional traffic, linking South America with the Caribbean. He said the government aimed to attract airlines operating wide-bodies to bring in more passengers and cargo, bring down costs due to greater economies of scale, and connect these flights to French Guiana, Brazil, and Trinidad.

Guyana already relies heavily on foreign carriers for most of its international connectivity. Caribbean Airlines (BW, Port of Spain), the national carrier of Trinidad and Tobago, has over 80% market share in terms of seat capacity at Georgetown Ogle, while Georgetown Cheddi Jagan is served by American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) and JetBlue Airways (B6, New York JFK), Caribbean Airlines, Copa Airlines (CM, Panamá City Tocumen Int'l), and Surinam Airways (PY, Paramaribo Int'l), according to the ch-aviation capacities module.

interCaribbean chief executive Trevor Sadler confirmed to ch-aviation that Turks & Caicos-based carrier had indeed been awarded fifth and seventh freedom traffic rights but declined to go into specifics.

"We will operate in a combination of 5th and 7th [freedom routes] as we approach from more than one origin point," he said.

interCaribbean's route map does, however, show a connection between Georgetown and Barbados, although no such flight reflects yet on its schedule.

The airline serves 30 routes with a fleet of twelve aircraft, including nine EMB-120ERs, one EMB-120RT, one EMB-145LR, and one DHC-6-200, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module reveals.

Meanwhile, Fly All Ways Airlines (8W, Paramaribo Int'l) first entered the Guyana market in 2016 but pulled out a year later, claiming a lack of customer support. Upon its return, the airline is slated to operate 5th freedom flights on routes between its base at Paramaribo Int'l, Georgetown, and Antigua; Paramaribo, Georgetown, and Barbados; and Paramaribo, Georgetown, and Curacao. As previously reported, Guyana signed an open skies agreement with Suriname in late 2020 to stimulate traffic between the two neighbouring countries.

The Blue Wing Airlines (BWI, Paramaribo Zorg en Hoop) subsidiary operates a trio of Fokker 70s, and a single Cessna (twin turboprop) 406 for charters.

Guyana currently has one home-based carrier, Trans Guyana Airways (TGY, Georgetown Ogle), which merely serves three routes – Boa Vista, RR (Brazil), Bridgetown (Barbados), and Lethem (Gyana) using Beech 1900D airliners, Cessna (single turboprop) C208s, and a single BN-2. As previously reported, Air Demerara (Georgetown Cheddi Jagan) has mooted 2021 debut plans with Airbus narrowbodies, while Guyana Airways (Georgetown Cheddi Jagan) has failed to start operations since 2016.