The Freundel Stuart Administration is to establish a new entity to help develop civil aviation as a viable industry here.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy today announced that Cabinet had already signed off on the formation of a Civil Aviation Authority charged with turning the sector into a revenue earner for the country. He said retired pilot Captain Keith Robinson had been engaged to take forward the process.
While leading off debate on the Civil Aviation (Amendment) Bill, 2016, Sealy told the House of Assembly the authority, which would not oversee air navigation services, would be required to put a business plans in place because it would have its own revenue streams.
The minister said it was part of Government’s plans to develop civil aviation into a profitable sector that would generate foreign exchange and employment.
“Civil Aviation in itself is a legitimate sector. It is an important access of economic activity; it is something that can create jobs; it can create economic activity; something that can earn foreign exchange and something that can assist other sectors apart from tourism,” he told his parliamentary colleagues,
The Member of Parliament for St Michael South Central contended that a services based economy was the way to go if Barbados expected to enhance the quality of life of its citizens, adding that this sector should not be seen as a pie in the sky activity.
Sealy made reference to Dubai in the Middle East, which he said had a thriving civil aviation industry even before it became dependent on oil.
“I am not suggesting that Barbados will become the Dubai of the west, but I am just saying that there are legitimate opportunities to be enjoyed in civil aviation. Barbados does have some advantages, geographically and otherwise that we can copy and exploit to develop this sector,” he said.