“Air connectivity is pivotal to unlocking Guyana’s potential for economic growth because of its capacity to attract business, invests and the influx of trained and qualified professionals.”Chairman of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCCA), Retired Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence London made this pronouncement at the launch of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Air Transport Conference on Monday at the Umana Yana.Chairman of GCAA, retired Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence LondonLondon advised that the vital role of the aviation industry should not be disregarded even as there is a burgeoning oil and gas industry. He contended that air transport must be sustained to keep the economy vibrant, even with the imminent wealth from oil and gas. “This industry (oil and gas) we feel will do well for this country; however, I feel strongly that we must not take our eyes off the prize.”The GCAA Chairman further explained that air connectivity can help address some of the challenges facing the eco-tourism industry, by facilitating intercontinental trade, business, tourism, and investment.According to London, the aviation sector is advancing and has been making notable achievements. However, the need for adequate infrastructure remains paramount to further boost the sector and better crystalise its rewards.London highlighted that Government is aware of this need and commended them for their support over the past years. “For years we heard that if we had adequate infrastructure, it would have been easier for commerce between South America, Africa, and North America…money was put into the infrastructure at Cheddi Jagan International Airport and I hope that the Government will see it fit to make it more robust so that more persons will be able to traverse.”Director of Air Transport Management, Saheed Sulaman noted that the total value of goods transported by air represents 35 per cent off all international trade. Sulaman stated that airlines transport over three billion passengers annually, while nearly 50 million tonnes of freight is carried by air. Therefore, “aviation is indispensable for tourism which is a major engine for economic growth and air transport facilitates world trade,” Sulaman said.