The governments of Guyana and China yesterday signed an air services agreement that lays the groundwork for flights between the two countries.
Public Works Minister Juan Edghill and People’s Republic of China Ambassador to Guyana Guo Haiyan signed the agreement during a ceremony at the ministry’s boardroom in Kingston, Georgetown.
During brief remarks, Edghill said the agreement will cover issues such as the granting of rights, the designation and authorization of airlines, the revocation, suspension of authorization or the imposition of conditions. , capacity and frequency provisions, recognition of certificates and licenses, aviation safety and security and tariffs.
Edghill challenged the Ambassador to invite China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Air China and others to consider flying the Guyana/China route.
According to Edghill, the agreement complements the more than fifty air services agreements that Guyana has already concluded with other signatory states.
While Guyana and China enjoy “excellent” trade relations in different areas, Mr Edghill said that in reality there is no direct flight between the two countries.
As such, he said the signing of the agreement puts in place the legal framework to address this challenge. “Thus, China and Guyana will not only be friendly and distant, but will become closer,” he said.
Furthermore, Edghill said the signing of the agreement also reflects the government’s commitment to connecting Guyana to the rest of the world. “Guyana is open for business with the whole world,” he said.
Every year there is significant traffic in terms of passengers and cargo between Guyana and China, Edghill said.
He noted that the promulgation of the agreement will promote direct people-to-people contacts for the advancement of cultural interactivity between Guyana and China. “Guyana also anticipates that this agreement will have a positive impact on Guyana’s tourism landscape as well as the wider Caribbean and Latin American region,” Edghill said.
Edghill added that the business, commerce and tourism opportunities are “tremendous” once air connectivity is established.
He further said that it is expected that the airlines of the two countries will capitalize on the opportunities that exist for the free movement of people and goods between the two countries. “Essentially, this will allow an open market for airlines to exploit and advance trade in air transport services and economic growth between the two countries,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Haiyan said that for years the two countries have been exploring the possibility of cooperation in civil aviation. In 2019, she said negotiations and preparations had begun between the two sides.
“Today’s signing of the agreement is an important step to implement President Xi Jinping’s consensus and President Ali’s bilateral cooperation…Laying down a legal basis for deepening our cooperation in the civil aviation and will strongly support economic and trade cooperation and facilitate people to people exchanges between China and Guyana,” the ambassador said.
“China-Guyanese relations have maintained good momentum of development…. At a new starting point, I have every reason to believe that with the leadership of the presidents of the two countries and the common expectation of our two peoples, China and Guyana will definitely become even closer and usher in a new stage. important in our bilateral cooperation relationship,” she added.
This year marked the 50th anniversary of China-Guyana diplomatic relations. Over the past century, Haiyan said bilateral cooperation has grown significantly, covering agriculture, mining, infrastructure, telecommunications and other fields.
“Today, as we officially launch cooperation in civil aviation, we see further expansion of China-Guyana cooperation…Geographical distance cannot stand in the way of China-Guyana friendship and Guyana,” she said.