were also occurring on the foreign policy front – and Guyana’s new relationship withBrazil and the other Western democracies inparticular,” recalls Captain Gouveia.Prior to founding the new company,Captain Gouveia served 15 years in theGuyanese Army Air Corps as Chief Pilot,having completed his aviation schooling atthe Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. “My service inthe army enhanced my expertise in aviationmanagement, logistics and security, while,at the same time, empowering me with adetailed knowledge of the geographicallayout of the Guyana, South America andthe Caribbean regions,” he tells us. “In addi-tion, my wife Debbie – a pilot who graduatedfrom Flight Safety International, grew up in agold-mining family, and had travelled exten-sivelyaround Guyana – also brought herexpertise in logistics management andaviation to the fledgling company.”
What’s in a name?
Inspiration for the name ‘Roraima Airways’came from Captain Gouveia’s fascinationwith Mount Roraima, the highest peak inGuyana at 9,094 feet, which the country shares with Brazil and Venezuela on itswestern border.“A major milestone in the history of Roraima Airways was planting our nationalflag on Mount Roraima on May 26th 1996in honour of Guyana’s 30th IndependenceAnniversary, which catapulted the company to national recognition,” reports CaptainGouveia. “The company’s steady expansionsof its fleet, hotels and new services have allbeen subsequent milestones along the way.Indeed, the management deliberately setout to ensure vertical integration and syn-ergies within Roraima, aimed at enhancingthe economic stability of the company, by adding complimentary services to supportoperations and provide diversity in the eventof a downturn in demand in one servicearea,” reports Captain Gouveia.Roraima Airways today encompasses 10separate divisions, the first of which is theairline, which operates three aircraft; thenthere is a full service aircraft ground handlingdivision at the Cheddi Jagan InternationalAirport; an aviation security division; a firstclass executive lounge for airline passengers;a lounge for flight crews; a tour agency; afull service IATA-accredited travel agency;Arrowpoint Nature Resort; Roraima DukeLodge and the Residence Inn – two boutiquehotels in the city of Georgetown. Roraimais also one of five owners of the new OgleInternational Airport, located five minutesfrom the city of Georgetown.
Roraima runs a Medical Evacuation Service,which makes an important contribution tonational life. “As a military aviator, I com-pleted hundreds of missions, going intothe jungle at night to evacuate gravely illor injured persons and air-lifting them tosafety, where they could receive life-savingmedical care,” notes Captain Gouveia. “Thistradition was expanded with the formationof Roraima Airways, with the service beingoffered to companies as part of their proto-cols to satisfy the occupational health andsafety requirements. It has also continuedto be available to the public at large. We haveliterally saved thousands of lives over the years, having provided critical air supportto the forestry, mining and tourism indus-tries. We are currently preparing to do sofor the petroleum industry too.“Our 24 hour Air-Medical Evacuationsystem is on standby at all times, either tofly sick and injured persons out of the hin-terland to the city, or to fly them to Trinidador Miami, as the case requires,” CaptainGouveia continues.
Superior service on the ground
“For the business traveller using a privateaircraft, Roraima Airport Ground HandlingFull Service Agency provides full support foraircraft arrival and departures, includingdocumentation, cleaning and catering.“The ground-handling division of Roraimacontinues its tradition of providing quality,full service handling including passengerand ramp services to a range of reputableairlines including North American Airlines,Zoom Airlines, and, most recently, DeltaAirlines, as well serving a range of privateclientsincluding numerous heads of state,and companies, such as Universal Weatherand BaseOps, when they arrive andleave Guyana.”Meanwhile, Roraima’s executive loungeis used by first and business class passen-gers of all airlines on the Guyana route, aswell as priority pass, Caribbean Airlines Cluband Angel Members, while the crew loungeis used by the flight crews of all airlines.
Tours and tourism
Roraima Tours offers tours to all destinationsin Guyana, including the majestic KaieteurFalls, the world’s tallest single-drop water-fall. In addition, its IATA-accredited travelagency provides travel services to membersof the international community and rep-utable local clients, including Guyana’sPresident. The agency represents allmajor airlines and offers phone-inticket delivery services.In fact, Roraima Airways today is the only company in Guyana – and possibly in theCaribbean – that provides complete andintegrated travel, security and tourismservices and solutions. “Our customersare met on arrival as they step off the planeat the international airport and they imme-diatelyexperience our ‘meet and greet’service policy,” says Captain Gouveia.“They are then transported in our air-condi-tioned buses to one of our hotels, which offera wide-range of food and beverages throughour restaurants and bars. Depending on theirrequirements, customers can be flown inour planes from our facilities at OgleInternational Airport to any destinationincluding the Kaieteur Falls, or transportedin our boats to experience eco-tourism at our jungle resort at Arrowpoint, for example. When it is time for their departure fromGuyana, customers will be transportedto the airport where they will find the
Roraima Airways Inc.
was establishedon 31st August 1992 and commenced itsoperations as a domestic charter conductingflights within Guyana, South America, andthe Caribbean. With particular emphasison executive clientele, the company hasevolved into a group of complementary divisions that supports the mining andtourism industries.
History of company and country
Guyana, a former British Colony, has awealth of natural resources including gold,diamonds, bauxite, uranium, manganese,eco-tourism and oil potential. For 30 years,before 1992, Guyana was virtually a closedstate with 95 per cent of the economy con-trolled by the government. However, in 1992,democracy and a free market system wererestored and the economy began the trans-formation from being predominantly product-driven to one that included service provision.“It was these changes that inspired my vision to establish Roraima Airways in 1992,with the aim of creating a first rate travel andtourism conglomerate that could capitaliseon the significant changes that were occur-ringto the economy, as well as those that
Roraima Airways is a leading player in the travel and tourism industry inGuyana, with considerable vertical integration. And, as MD and founder,Captain Gerry Gouveia, explains to Bob Combes, his is the only company withintegrated network travel and tourism services in the country.