… as CAL, SOL Guyana sign on as sponsorsEven with its impending oil industry, Guyana will once again be on the global radar when it hosts the annual International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Air Transport Meeting in November.The conference will be held from November 21 to 23 under the theme, “Promoting connectivity for sustainable air transport”, and is expected to be one of the largest international events to be hosted locally.The objective of this Air Transport Meeting, according to the website, is to proffer practical solutions to remove existing regulatory impediments to air transport liberalisation and to finance the development of quality aviation infrastructure, as well as to follow up on the outcome of previous conferences.On the last day of the conference, Guyana will also be hosting the third Meeting of the African Diaspora, which will promote tourism and air links between African States and the Diaspora, especially the Caribbean States.According to Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Director General Egbert Field, plans are well underway to host the event, which is expected to focus on aDirector General Egbert Field and other GCAA officials with representatives from CAL and SOL Aviation Inc on Fridaywide array of areas.“It must be a conference in totality. It must address investment, tourism, inter-connectivity, trade, infrastructure – those elements [and more] will be part of the agenda,” he noted.A Marketing and Operational Support Secretariat has been set up to spearhead preparation and, according to its Director, Franklin Veira, the hosting of this conference will not only open doors for the local aviation sector but for the country as a whole.It also highlights the opportunities available in Guyana, since the country is pivotally placed in the North-eastern corner of South America and as such, is a good transition point for carriers moving to the African continent.He added that they would also be hoping to capitalise on the spanking new Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).“So we are hoping that with the advent of this conference, people will have an opportunity to see the Cheddi Jagan Airport and to see what facilities exist there, so they could turn around and begin to utilise it, making Guyana another international transit point for traffic moving to that side of the world,” he said.While the ICAO is assisting with major international sponsors for the event, Guyana has already secured 40 local ones including Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) and SOL Aviation Inc, both of which got on board Friday.CAL’s representatives noted that the airline’s sponsorship of the event was an affirmation of its commitment towards its service to the Region as the premier carrier. Meanwhile, the SOL representative noted that the company, through its sponsorship, was looking to build on its aviation company in Guyana.With these companies already on board, organisers are calling on other local and regional companies to take advantage of the opportunity.“This is a global conference and the marketing reach of your brand is to 192 States. To take your brand to 192 countries takes a lot of work and with this conference we are offering that opportunity,” GCAA’s Director of Air Transport Management, Saheed Sulaman, said.The GCAA is also partnering with other organisations such the Caribbean Community (Caricom) to host the conference, which will be held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre. It is expected that representatives from all 192 ICAO member countries – between 400 to 600 participants – will attend. So far, the organisers have secured 16 hotels in the city to accommodate the participants.During the conference, the visitors will also be treated to “A Taste of Guyana” which will highlight the country’s culture and cuisine, among other aspects, while special trips will be organised to Guyana’s hinterland region to explore its rich flora and fauna.