American Airlines celebrate JFK-Georgetown route

David Lombard, manager, Alliances, American Airlines, addressing the audience in Terminal 8 JFK Conference Room at American Airlines “Get to Know Guyana Day” celebration.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

American Airlines (AA) rolled out a welcome mat at JFK Terminal 8 conference center, on Wednesday, Oct, 16 for travelers to enjoy, “Get to Know Guyana Day” in preparation for the carrier’s inaugural flight on Dec, 18 from New York’s JFK International Airport, to Georgetown’s Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

The outbound flight will depart JFK at 5:40 pm and arrives at CJIA at midnight. The GEO-JFK outbound flight will depart at 1 am and arrives at JFK at 6 am, daily.

The airline’s Caribbean Employee Business Resource Group, collaborated with the Consulate of Guyana to New York and the Guyana Cultural Association to woo passengers to the airlines new destination, during a colorful showcase of steel pan music, drumming, dance, the singing of “I love my Golden Arrowhead” by Courtney Noel, and waving of Guyana’s flag, a taste of Guyanese food, and presentations to highlight the Republic’s characteristics.

David Lombard, manager, Alliances, American Airlines Terminal 8, welcomed Guyanese, noting that the airline was excited about its new service from JFK to Georgetown.

Lombard thanked the Caribbean Resource Business Group, for planning the event.

“When we wanted to do something special for the Georgetown route, our employees came together and planned this event, with Vanita Jagnarain, customer service manager, Customer Care, taking the lead to execute the “Get to Know Guyana Day event.”

“We wanted to know about the food, the culture, recreational activities, and the people of Guyana, so that when we start the service we could interact with the people to make their experience on American Airlines very special.”

“On behalf of the 10,000 employees in the NY area, we are excited to welcome you to Georgetown,” said Lombard.

Managing Director, American Airlines, Mike McKanna, also thanked guests for attending the celebration, saying that AA was excited to be flying the new route, and thanked employees, naming Vanita Jagnarain, as someone who played a major role in planning the event.

McKenna says the performers were fantastic in their presentations to showcase Guyana, and spoke highly of his interaction with Guyanese-born employee Narendra Sawh, Manager, Administration, who educated him about Guyana.

“Narendra Sawh, who grew up in Guyana used his years at American Airlines to help me learn about his country, and the most visited Kaieteur Falls that is four times as high as Niagara Falls,” said McKanna who quipped, that he looks forward to experiencing a game of cricket, but not one that last for several days.

Spokesman, Corporate Communications, American Airlines, Justin F. Franco, remarked, that the airline is extremely excited to bring service to Guyana, and looks forward to the inaugural festivities and flight on Dec. 18, from JFK, and Cheddi Jagan Int. Airport, respectively.

Abina Phillips, diversity advisory council representative, Caribbean Employee Business Resource Group of American Airlines, who overseas activities in the community, told Caribbean life that the group wanted to take advantage of the decision by AA to start a JFK to Geo service, as such, “we are planning a number of events to promote the service, to build a relationship with the Guyanese community.”

“We started last month, with an American Airlines sponsored, Labor Day Carnival contingent to showcase Guyanese culture, and to bring the Guyanese community together to educate American Airlines staff, so they (AA) in turn, could be of better service to the Georgetown route,” said Phillips, who has plans to take a group to Georgetown to volunteer at local schools and to establish a library.

A program to support Guyanese women through a shelter system, as well as a workshop to train aviation staff, is also in the pipeline, said Phillips, who is based in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Thanks to the Guyana Consulate, the Guyana Cultural Association, The Guyana Tourism Board, Demerara Distillery Limited (DDL), Dave Imports, Wilderness Explorers, the amazing performers, and our AA team members,” Phillips expressed.

Consul General of Guyana to New York, Barbara Atherly brought Guyana to the people through a comprehensive presentation that highlighted the Republic’s geography, demographics, and economy, shining a light on the country’s oil and gas sector.

The diplomat also outlined the role the Consulate of Guyana in New York plays to bring services of passport delivery, travel, and other documentation, and outreaches to benefit the diaspora.

The celebration that was attended by Guyanese-born, New York State Senator, Roxanne J. Persaud, opened with the singing of the national anthems of the United States and Guyana, by AA staffer, Nadricka Knight, also a Guyanese-born, who has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

The event also captured the beauty of Guyana, through images presented by representatives of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), David and Andrea de Caires, Wilderness Explorers. Others from GTA, included, Jane Behrend, David DiGregorio and Hugh Hough.

Thanks to GCA’s Claire Patterson-Monah for her outstanding narration and emcee duties that gave the audience an understanding of Guyana’s rich multi cultural heritage, and vast beauty.

American Airlines would like to thank everyone who made the “Get to Know Guyana” celebration a success, including Cultural Director of GCA, Claire A. Goring, performers, Courtney Noel, Marissa Nadir, Sanasani Cultural Association, Winston ‘Jaggea’ Hoppy, Classique Dance Company NY, and the staff American Airlines.

Thanks also to sponsors, Guyana Distillery Limited, Dave’s West Indian Products, Corp., the Guyana Tourist Authority and others.

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Melissa Nadir going through her paces at Terminal 8 JFK Conference Center at American Airlines Get to Know Guyana Day celebration to announce its JFK/GEO route.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

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