The airline industry plays a critical role in the development of Guyana’s transport system. That is, it provides an incredible link between the coast and other hinterland areas, which is most often inaccessible from other means of transportation. The first person to ever fly an airplane to Guyana is a German known as George Schmidt who flew over Georgetown from Bel Air Park Race Course.
Airmail service to Guyana began on September 1929. Colonel Charles Lindberth whom was a famous American flier, arrived on the Demerara River with his flying boat called the amphibian aircraft in the year 1929, September 22. This led the way for the first regular flights to the interior of Guyana in 1939.
Even though air transport started in the 1920’s with ‘bush’ services, government’s participation can be calculated as far as 1947 when a Director of Civil Aviation was created to regulate the industry. Shipments of beef from the Rupinuni to Georgetown by air started on the 9th July 1948. That is, due to the amphibian aircraft has been a key success to the development of the industry as it is able to land on both airstrip and water.
In the development of air transportation in Guyana owes a lot Arthur “Art” James Williams, whom was a pilot and mechanic from the United States. He came to British Guiana in August of 1934, and returned home in October of 1955. During this period, except for the war years, he served for the United States Air Force and he developed the British Guiana Airways Ltd which was registered on the 27th May, 1938 and began operating for regular internal services since 1939.
The government at that time purchased the British Guiana Airways on the 15th July 1955. Then, external services dominated foreign airlines until in 1979 Guyana Airways Corporation began regional air services. Subsequently, restrictions on the repatriation foreign exchange profits and other circumstances caused the withdrawal of some services to Guyana, except BWIA. That is, Guyana Airways Corporation had to fill the breach by obliging operations to Miami, New York and Toronto.
During the 1980’s, Guyana Airways Corporation’s Domestic operations decreased for some reasons such as the unrealistically low fares that was required and the lack of access to foreign exchange for imported aircraft parts and other requirements. Due to this, the private sector started to fill the gap and by 1991 the three major domestic charter operators emerged. While this was happening, the Guyana Airways Corporation’s domestic service continued to decline, which by 1993, only owned the Twin Otter DHC-6 to service the entire country. With the new management system it was revived and returned to its original domestic role with new schedule routes and the addition of two new aircraft Shorts Skyvan SC7 and a second Twin Otter DHC-6.
The future of Guyana airline industry is Travelspan, which is an international airline company who operates in Guyana and became the second national airline of Guyana. That provides international service to the Guyanese community.
DOMESTIC AIR SERVICES
Name: Air Services Limited
Address:Ogle Aerodrome, East Coast Demerara
Tele. No.: 222 4368/222 4357
Name: Roraima Airways
Address R 8 Eping Avenue, Bel Air Park, GT
Tele. No.: 225 9648/222 2337
Name: Trans Guyana Airways
Address Ogle Aerodrome, East Coast Demerara
Tele. No.: 222 2525
Name: Wings Aviation Ltd.
Address J Lama Avenue, Bel Air Park
Tele. No.: 226 9098/222 6513