Interior air shuttles suspended following 3 crashes

MBC, Georgetown, Guyana

Interior shuttle operations have been temporarily suspended by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) following three airplane crashes over the last two months.

“The Authority has now taken the decision to suspend all operations until the documented procedures and policies for shuttle operations are submitted, reviewed and approved by the inspectors of this Authority,” Director General, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret’d) Egbert Field  told the media at a press conference on Wednesday in Georgetown. The GCAA has also increased surveillance at the Eugene F. Correia Airport. “The Authority has also taken further steps to increase its surveillance of air operators by conducting more ramp inspections of flights going out,”  he noted. The GCAA wants documented procedures and policies for shuttle operations by local air operators to be submitted. The GCAA will be examining air operators’ procedures as it relates to qualified loaders, certified dispatchers and operational control at their base and various locations as indicated in the operating manuals. GCAA will also be conducting onsite investigations to verify these procedures are in place on site.

The suspension stemmed from preliminary analysis of the three recent plane crashes in the interior, two of which were fatal. Field noted that these planes were conducting shuttles when they crashed.

Shuttle operations were green lighted by the GCAA on a small scale but Field pointed out these have since grown “rapidly” over the years with more than 70 aircrafts registered with the oversight body. “The Authority is seeking to regulate this type of operation,” Field noted while pointing out that shuttles are usually “risky”.

Simplified, shuttle operation is taking several trips to deliver, mostly cargo, from one location to another. Field noted it is utilized mostly by miners.  “I know that the halting of the shuttle operations in the interior will create some hardship for miners and also inhabitants but we think this a necessary measure to halt it until we can have documented the procedures and the policies by operators so that we are assured that the air operators are maintaining operational control,” Field said.

August 30, 2017