GUYANA'S Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and other Government officials Thursday night hailed the opening up of a direct route from Jamaica to Guyana by Fly Jamaica airline.
According to Hinds, the route represents an expected growth in tourism and commerce in the South American country.
Hinds commended Fly Jamaica CEO Captain Ronald Reece for being "bold and courageous" to open up the route.
Robeson Benn, the minister of public works and communication, also welcomed the move, saying that air transport out of Guyana is critical to the "country's commerce and the economy". He said that the route was opened up just in time for the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil, which is one of the countries that shares borders with Guyana.
Irfan Ally, the minister of housing and water and who is acting tourism minister, said that there are lots of attractions in Guyana that can pull Jamaicans.
Captain Reece, in his address, said: "We have created history by joining two countries with an air bridge." He added that the service was the fruition of his 30-year dream.
Following the brief ceremony -- which saw performances from Jamaican artistes Assassin, Wayne Marshall and Denyque -- Reece said he always wanted to bring Guyana and Jamaica closer, noting that other carriers usually take eight to 10 hours to get to Guyana because they do not fly directly to the country.
The inaugural flight was made on Thursday, leaving Kingston at approximately 6:30 pm, with about 60 passengers, and landing in Georgetown at 9:40pm.
Flight 151, piloted by captains Fred Ahm and Ian Robertson, was given the traditional water welcome and was greeted at the airport by the prime minister, other Government officials and dignitaries among others.
The return flight left Guyana at midnight for Jamaica.
Fly Jamaica also flies from Toronto, Canada to Georgetown; New York, USA to Georgetown; Kingston to Toronto; and Kingston to New York.