The Civil Aviation Department is in line for a major restructuring which will see the creation of two separate entities, one responsible for regulation and the other for operations.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy said the restructuring would take place over the longterm but during this financial year some immediate things will be done. He did not specify what those immediate changes were.
A major reason for the restructuring of the department is to meet international standards for obtaining a Category One status.
The establishment of the entities should also help to address a number of challenges facing the regulation and management of the industry here and allow the island to keep abreast with the latest training and safer techniques as well as new trends.
“It is essential in terms of getting the Category One status and we are moving forward apace with that given the obvious constraints that we have. It requires certain staffing adjustments and things that have to be done with respect to specialist people that have to be employed. So there are a number of reasons it is going to take a little time to get that particular step done with creating the two entities. The important point is that one is responsible for regulation and one is responsible for operation,” Sealy told journalists on Monday.
He made the comments during a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a facility to house the civil aviation department, the meteorological services department and the Air Transport Licensing Authority at Charnocks, Christ Church.
Sealy said the department was “a mishmash” with everything being under the ministry. And that, he said, was a problem as far as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) were concerned.
“In the longterm there will be a comprehensive restructuring of the department to see the establishment of two separate entities, namely a regulatory entity, a statutory organization functioning as the Barbados Civil Aviation Authority, and an operational entity which will remain under the purview of the ministry and consisting of air navigational services together with the Civil Aviation Training Centre. That is of course a big part of what the international organizations are asking for.
You can’t in essence have an entity regulating itself, so we have to do that separation. . . . All of that will mean, in some, is that we can move our status from Category two to Category one,” he explained.
Sealy said the achievement of Category One status with the US was essential to the industry, adding that the status should result in increased business for the island.
“It is therefore a number one priority for us to get the Category one status going at the earliest date since as it stands now air operators are a little reluctant to set up business in a state that doesn’t have this status,” he said.
“I am told that over the years we have had a number of approaches by investors seeking to set up airline businesses here and of course when Barbados obtain its Category one status it is anticipated that we will not only get back those offers and get new offers, but we will also be able to pursue in a more active way the aircraft registry that we would love to see here. We have a ships registry and it is time we have an aircraft registry, and we will put those things in place as well,” added Sealy.