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Colin Abrams: Renaissance Man seeks to open new airline

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Colin Abrams: Renaissance Man seeks to open new airline

Unread post by bimjim » Mon Mar 19, 2018

https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2018 ... w-airline/

Colin Abrams: Renaissance Man seeks to open new airline
Mar 18, 2018

At 6’2, some 200 pounds and a loud clear, voice, Colin Abrams, is a larger than life character from his mere physical presence.

“I’m still 210 pounds,” he jokes with a friend who teases him about the padding he’s added since he first was given his United States Department of Defence ID card some 27 years ago. Back then, Abrams was working with the airline, World Airways, stationed in Malaysia, a young pilot of several years’ experience, a Guyanese migrant to Florida.

The young pilot, then in his thirties, had already led an interesting life. His work with the airline took him to exotic locations, even as he continued to certify himself with every civilian flight qualification he could apply for. In a short time, he went from flying Muslims from the far East to the annual Haj pilgrimage to flying American soldiers into the theatre of conflict that was the First Gulf War, the conflagration promoted by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

Three years before that, in 1988, he was in Seoul, South Korea, representing Guyana at that year’s Olympics in Sprint Cycling, competing on the Velodrome Cycling track. Some thirty years later, he still wears the commemorative ring on his right hand. He remembers anecdotally coming home to Guyana to help train local cyclists and facing opposition from his trainees to wearing helmets. He jokes that it was only after they saw riders taking part in the Tour de France wearing helmets that they eventually warmed to the idea he recalls.

The accolades of Olympic athlete, and pilot in peace and wartime are not the only ones that Abrams holds, however. He also carried the title of Doctor, a qualification he earned midway through his career as a pilot and for a very specific purpose.

“I had no desire,” he says, “to become a doctor. Zero. Less than zero. But my mom had numerous amputations. When she had her left leg amputated, I was with her at every surgery, watching her writhing in pain, and I told her ‘Mom, I promise that you would never have to have another amputation.’”

He admits that at the time that was a grand promise to fulfill. It was one he found a way to fulfill, nonetheless. Taking advantage of the seasonal winter furloughs that the airline put the pilots on, he enrolled in medical school. Five years later, he was licensed to practise medicine, just in time to save his mother’s right leg from being amputated.

He couldn’t stave off the inevitable however. In the early 2000s, his family suffered three tragedies in a relatively short space of time, his mother, his father and one of his sisters. He and another sister decided to come back to Guyana for a few months to relax and to give themselves some time to grieve. He had only recently started working with Delta Airlines, and around that time, the ill-fated Guyana Airways 2000 was wrapping up operations.

Over the years, he decided to return more frequently to Guyana, particularly when Delta Airlines opened up there non-stop between New York’s JFK International and Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
Knowing that his medical qualification was born out of a desire to help people, his sister suggested that he establish a clinic here, and he did, operating out of a building she owned in central Georgetown. He would fly in as a pilot with Delta, treat patients, and then fly out again.

After Delta closed services here in 2014, he was not impressed with the service provided by Caribbean Airlines. This discontent grew into the idea that he could do what he had been doing all his life – taking a direct hand in fixing a problem or challenge that he was facing.

After consulting with his sister, the idea to form Guyana Airways Corporation was formed. In 2016, he initiated the process for receiving permission to operate from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority.

Almost two years later, the dream of a Guyana-branded carrier is about to come through again. Abrams is currently in Guyana to meet with the GCAA on the final stages of the process and is expecting his first flights by the end of the year. Asked what persons can expect from his airline that distinguishes it from any other, his answer is simple:

“A culture of service. I’m here to create a culture of service for Guyanese to enjoy.”

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