BREAKING: American Airlines issues apology to PM Gonsalves over Airport incident

By Demion McTair. Updated 11:22 a.m., Tuesday, February 21, 2023, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

American Airlines has apologized to St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves over a faux pas that took place at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana.

In a letter dated February 20, 2023, Managing Director of International Government Affairs of American Airlines – Robert Wirick asked Prime Minister Gonsalves to “please accept my apology for not proactively approving the request for expedited treatment and the inconvenience caused during your departure from Guyana’s Cheddi Jagan International Airport.”

On February 15, 2023, Loop News reported that Guyana’s Government criticised American Airlines for its continued refusal to grant VIP treatment to dignitaries that are utilising its services out of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation released a statement today [on February 15] where it criticised the airline’s agents for demanding that the Prime Ministers of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, who were in Guyana for the annual energy expo, leave the executive lounge and present themselves to the check-in counter,” Loop News reported.

“All Government protocols were in place to facilitate their departure. Despite American Airlines having been written to, prior to the arrival of the Prime Ministers in Guyana, for them to be accorded the courtesies of check-in on departure from the VIP Lounge, the airline refused to acquiesce to the Ministry’s request,” the ministry said as it noted that the airline’s actions have embarrassed both Guyana and the region, according to Loop News.

In its February 20, 2023 letter to Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves, American Airlines said: “We sincerely regret that we fell short of your expects while traveling from Guyana to Miami to connect on a flight to The Bahamas for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) summit.”

“American Airlines greatly treasures the relationship with you and the citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We will strive to ensure that all your future travels on our airline are pleasant and exceed your expectations,” the airline’s letter added.

Prime Minister Gonsalves had earlier dismissed the incident saying he is not someone who is “easily insulted and disrespected”.

The airline has also apologized to Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley.

The letter sent to us by the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary – Mr. Sehon Marshall – Office of the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The photo on the left in the photo collage used as our feature photos is credited to Discover SVG while the photo on the right is credited to the Facebook page of Guyana’s President – Irfaan Ali.

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