Government is pushing ahead with efforts to acquire category one status for the Grantley Adams International Airport.
But Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, informed a news conference this afternoon at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, that the country’s Civil Aviation Authority must first be established.
Sealy, who was speaking during the break of a civil aviation consultation, disclosed that a bill for the establishment of the authority was expected to go before Parliament by December.
“We hope to be able to go to Parliament, certainly, I would say, during the course of the session that would come after the summer recess. Somewhere between October and December, we should be able to go to Parliament and have the civil aviation authority in place,” he added.
“Once we can get that and find the resources to put certain specialists in place, we should be able to move very quickly towards category one. And that in itself … can have all sorts of potential, not only for passenger flights, but certainly cargo and air ambulances and the like; so there are lots of possibilities.”
He suggested that even training could take on a different flavour with category one status. He said there were people training not only on props and turbo props, but even the small jets and similar aircraft. Sealy considered this a priority and was treating it as such. Sealy explained that category one was primarily regulations.
“It’s a lot of regulatory requirements, really and truly. Category one is not about your airport. It is to do with regulatory; … from
your operational and the structures that you have in terms of your regulatory arrangements and of course having the right personnel and qualifications of these personnel,” he noted.
Sealy said there were some on-the-ground issues, pointing out that security was a big thing for the Federal Aviation Authority.
“It is a fairly detailed thing mainly related to the regulatory framework and not so much the bricks and mortar of your airport or aerodrome,” he added.
He said, too, that there was need for legislation to support a 24-hour cargo clearance system, whereby a customs officer would be available. The minister suggested that Government must only consider such a system for the airport, but the sea port as well. (EJ)