(PARAMARIBO) – Surinam Airways (PY, Paramaribo Int’l) has ambitious expansion plans chief executive Robbi Lachmising has revealed to Caribbean News Now.

In an interview, Lachmising said the Surinamese national carrier plans to expand its Georgetown Cheddi Jagan, Guyana hub with flights to Havana Int’l and New York JFK later this year. Surinam Airways, or SLM as it is colloquially known, currently serves Miami Int’l through Georgetown.

Insofar as fleet renewal is concerned, the CEO said the airline may turn to the Surinamese government for assistance in replacing its three B737-300s. As previously reported, SLM has considered bringing in a B737-800 for flights to the United States. The move is, however, contingent on SLM securing the 5th Freedom traffic rights it needs for flights out of Georgetown to Cuba and New York. The carrier is also seeking to become Guyana’s flag carrier which implies the need for 7th Freedom traffic rights (i.e. the right to base an aircraft in a foreign country for international flights) as well.

SLM recently announced a three-year codesharing agreement with TUIfly (Netherlands) which will see the Dutch airline operate one of Surinam’s 5x weekly trans-Atlantic Amsterdam – Paramaribo Int’l flights. SLM currently services the route using a quadjet A340-300 and this will be supplemented with a B787-8 from TUIfly. Cooperation with the Dutch leisure carrier could also enable SLM to move towards ETOPS certification and therefore more fuel efficient twin-engine aircraft.

Meanwhile, the airline is in talks with the government to help secure additional agreements with other carriers, as well as establishing bilateral air service agreements with countries such as Turkey, Ghana, the United Arab Emirates, and Panama.

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