Published On: Fri, May 20th, 2016

Non-stop flights between Suriname and New York still on SLM radar

Suriname AirwaysPARAMARIBO - After more than eight years, Suriname’s Johan Pengel International Airport, with the cooperation of the United States, has now been certified as a category 1 airport, which will now allow Suriname-based airlines to fly non-stop to the US and, with this development, state owned Surinam Airways (SLM) will begin non-stop flights from Paramaribo to Miami in September.

A 2014 US Embassy press release stated that, to establish non-stop flights between Suriname and the United States, aviation security standards set forth by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) must be met. Over the years the government of Suriname began implementing the required ICAO Security Standards, and a team of US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inspectors recently travelled to Suriname to conduct an airport assessment of the Johan Adolf Pengel (JAP) International Airport to ensure that all ICAO security standards were being implemented.

The TSA during its mission found that Suriname has met the regulations to ensure compliance and a result is now coded as a Category 1 airport.

New York is also be part of SLM’s planned network expansion and that mostly likely will become a reality in 2017 when the airline renews its fleet and acquires an aircraft suitable to ply the Paramaribo/Georgetown/New York market. Mostly likely, these flights will originate in Paramaribo (PBM) via Guyana (GEO) to New York’s JFK.

The Guyana market is looking promising for Surinam Airways and, due to that, the company has recently increased its GEO/MIA frequency to three per week. Its planned expansion into the New York market hinges very much on the Guyana ethnic market in New York City.

Currently, the three Boeing 737-300s in SLM’s fleet do not have the range to ply the New York route and are not suitable for cargo and large amount of baggage on these ethnic routes.

The lack of non-stop flights between Suriname and the United States has drawn criticism from the business sector. It takes an entire day to reach Suriname from Miami because most flights stop in Aruba, Trinidad or Guyana.

By Ray Chickrie

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