Roraima denies 19 shuttles claims

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Roraima denies 19 shuttles claims

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Sep 16, 2017

http://guyanachronicle.com/2017/09/16/r ... les-claims

Roraima denies 19 shuttles claims
…insists airline did not violate any law
September 16, 2017

MANAGING-DIRECTOR of Roraima Airways Captain Gerry Gouveia on Friday refuted statements made by Director-General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Egbert Field that suggested Captain Colin Martin did 19 air shuttles on the same day the aircraft he flew crashed.

Captain Martin was killed after the Britten -Norman island aircraft he was operating crashed on landing at Eteringbang, in Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni) in July.

In a statement to the media, Gouveia said his airline has not violated any laws and or regulations pertaining to the provision of shuttle services and noted that “suggestions and insinuations that the late Capt. Martin would have flown for extraordinarily long hours is downright untrue.”

He said Captain Martin enjoyed a day off the day before his death and had departed the Eugene F. Correia International Airport at Ogle at 10:30hrs for Eteringbang, an 85-minute flight. According to Gouveia, Captain Martin flew nine shuttles or 18 flights between Eteringbang and Ekereku on July 24, each flight lasting approximately 12 minutes and representing a total of 216 minutes or three hours and 36 minutes.

“This includes the flight back to Eteringbang which regrettably claimed his life. Capt. Martin’s total flying time for that day did not exceed any local or international provisions regarding his number of flying hours that day.
It is indeed regrettable that there would be suggestions that Roraima Airways, let alone Capt. Martin himself, would put his life at risk by flying for exceedingly long hours in contravention of established provisions and regulations,” the statement issued by Gouveia said.

He posited too the suggestion that the aircraft flown by Martin may have been overloaded. “Capt. Martin’s accident happened as he was flying back to Eteringbang from Ekereku, a flight which is empty as supplies are shuttled in the opposite direction.”

Field however told reporters on Thursday that Martin’s aircraft was found nose down at the crash site and noted that between Eteringbang and Ekereku, the captain had conducted a total of 19 shuttles.

“We did see that the pilot flew from Ogle International Airport the morning (July 24) and he executed a number of shuttles…a total of 19 shuttles,” said Field, who cautioned that the information provided ought not to be treated as findings, but as facts.

There have been three accidents in the past two months, two of which were fatal. Captain Martin’s aircraft was the first of the trio to crash and according to the GCAA; interviews have since been conducted by officials.

“We have retrieved the engines and the propellers, they were extracted from the aircraft and they were brought to the Eugene F Correia International Airport for safe-keeping.

It is now awaiting exportation to the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB),” said Field, who noted that it is the responsibility of the operator to ship the engines. He said that as the parts await exportation to Washington, they are kept safe by the authority.

Meanwhile, Gouveia in his missive sought to advise the public that Roraima Airways’ fleet of aircraft undergoes routine maintenance every 50 flying hours and that maintenance and repairs are conducted as soon as any issue arises.

“Additionally, our pilots do a routine check of the aircraft prior to every flight. We also maintain a state-of-the art tracking system at our Ogle base which allows our staff to keep track of the movements of our aircraft at all times.”

In response to statements made by the GCAA Director on being lectured by persons within the local aviation sector, Gouveia said his utterances on the state of the aviation sector were not intended to lecture anyone.

“It was and remains a menu of recommendations which he [Gouveia] feels should be addressed in the interest of promoting and ensuring genuine safety measures for the local aviation industry,” the statement said.

Field had said that while he is open to discussions, ideas and suggestions from stakeholders, he will not be lectured to by anyone within the local aviation sector.

“He, like others, has the requisite training and experience in the aviation industry that provides for him to offer recommendations for improving standards in the industry, especially regarding safety. His suggestions we hope will be seen as a genuine contribution to the effort to upgrade the industry rather than as a lecture to anyone,” it continued.

No racket

Additionally, Gouveia in his statement rejected insinuations that there may be a racket involving pilots and/or operators as it relates to shuttle operations. “Roraima Airways in unaware of any such statement or suggestion being made publicly or privately by the director-general,” he said in reference to an article published in one of the daily newspapers on Friday.

“Far from there being any racket, the provision of air shuttle service by domestic air carriers, and more specifically the service provided by Roraima Airways, represents a lawful and legitimate activity which remains critical to the social and economic well-being of the communities in our hinterland.”

He stressed that the air shuttle service especially between Eteringbang and Ekereku was introduced following the collapse of Guyana Airways Corporation (GAC) which previously offered subsidized cargo service to the hinterland from Timehri International Airport.

“Because of the prohibitive costs of flying fuel and other supplies from Georgetown to remote locations such as Eteringbang, miners and other businesspersons utilise the country’s network of roads and trails to truck supplies into such locations. From there these supplies are shuttled via aircraft to locations which are not accessible by road. The average flying time between, in this case, Eteringbang and Ekereku is 12 to 15 minutes,” Gouveia explained, as he emphasised that the air shuttle service is indispensable.

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