Our Story, By Us
< Current local time in Suriname – Paramaribo
PARAMARIBO, Suriname–National airline Suriname Airways is returning to eastern neighbor French Guyana, but wants guarantees from the French authorities. Manager Ewald Henshuys confirmed earlier this week that the airline is in talks with the French and wants guarantees that the French will not stop the flights arbitrarily like they did in the past. “We learned our lessons,” said Henshuys.
After operating a French Guiana service for over 16 years, Suriname Airways’ license was revoked a few years ago, in favor of French airline Air Caraïbes, the Guadeloupe based commuter airline that serves French Caribbean territories. It seems though that Air Caraïbes is facing financial woes, which leave it unable to guarantee service to French Guyana. In a bid to prevent having their country without an air-bridge, the French authorities recently invited Suriname Airways to return.
“The license of Suriname Airways had been revoked by the French in favor of Air Caraïbes, but now they want us to return. We could, but under the condition that we not only receive a license, but an aviation agreement as well,” said Henshuys. As this is not an agreement that authorities in French Guyana –an overseas department of France- can sign, the final decision has to be made in Paris.
But the odds are in favor of Suriname Airways. Oil finds off the French Guiana coast have spurred US oil companies to operate in the French overseas department. Not having proper air service –to the US- could be a deterrent, however.
Suriname Airways already flies to western neighbor Guyana and southern neighbor Brazil, Curacao, Aruba, Trinidad, Miami in the US and the Netherlands; a resumption of the French Guyana service would make the company the major carrier of the Guyanas. Henshuys said the intention is for the French Guyana service to start by the end of the year. Government-owned Suriname Airways has a fleet of three aircraft: an Airbus A340-300 and two Boeing 737-300.