Thursday, January 21, 2021

Guyana: More Canadians returned home as WestJet makes inaugural flight

One hundred and fifty Canadian Citizens were repatriated yesterday when a Canadian Airline made its first direct flight to Guyana as part of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic relief efforts.
The High Commission of Canada to Guyana successfully repatriated 150 Canadian citizens yesterday with the help of a humanitarian flight operated by Canadian airline WestJet. It was the first time the airline had ever made a direct trip to Guyana. It is expected to return on Monday when more Canadian nationals will be departing.
“We are very, very grateful to the Government of Guyana who helped us and understood the need and was very accommodating with us,” the Canadian High Commissioner, Lilian Chatterjee, said yesterday.
She told the media that flights for the two humanitarian flights were sold out within 24 hours and a total of 600 persons reached out the High Commission so far. “We are hoping to analyze how many other Canadians are hoping to leave. We will work closely with the government task force in seeing how many more approvals we get,” she said, before adding that “there were 600 [persons] who wanted to return and 300 have gotten on to these flights.”
“We are very grateful that a Canadian airline has come on a direct flight… and that the Government of Guyana has facilitated that, so were very grateful.” Chatterjee said.
The flight departed Guyana via the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) yesterday at 15.30 hours. The CJIA was shut down and commercial flights were halted since March 18 as part of the effort to stem the spread of the disease, but after seeing the need for the Canadian citizens to return home, it was temporarily re-opened yesterday. The flight which departed yesterday is part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to help Canadians stranded abroad to return home.
On April 4, 2020, a group of Canadian citizens boarded two chartered flights which flew them out to Barbados and then on to Canada. Even though most persons preferred to have a direct flight to Canada, Chatterjee told Sunday Stabroek then that they were unable to get that arranged.
The High Commission of Canada to Guyana is reminding the public that Canadians can still contact its offices for assistance with any help it can provide. The High Commission can be contacted on the telephone numbers: 660-8712 or 608-7012.
(STABROEK NEWS)

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