Categorized | National News

Aviation Sector Could Be Blacklisted – Country Has To Improve Industry

If The Bahamas fails a third test by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) the country could be placed on the world blacklist of country’s with the worst aviation standards.

Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin on Wednesday tabled the Civil Aviation Safety Amendment Regulations, 2013 in the House of Assembly and noted that in 2009 and 2011 The Bahamas failed two tests conducted by ICAO.

She explained that the tests address various components of the country’s safety regime, including general policies, penalties, airworthiness, aviation maintenance, licences and training and certification, among other checks.

According to Minister Hanna-Martin, in the 2009 audit, The Bahamas was found to have a number of deficiencies based on the eight critical elements established by ICAO to monitor member states’ commitment to ensuring that a safe, secure aviation regime is in place.

As for the second audit in 2011, she says while it showed some improvement The Bahamas was still in a continued deficient state.

The aviation minister said in response to those negative findings, The Bahamas formulated a corrective action plan to ensure that the country would become compliant with ICAO standards.

“A team of auditors from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is here in The Bahamas at this moment auditing The Bahamas’ safety oversight regime. The aviation sector is perhaps one of the most powerful thrusters of our economic engine. First and foremost the aviation industry facilitates a tourism industry which constitutes in fact, the absolute bedrock of our economy.”

“Having regard to the importance of aviation to the wellbeing of our people, the country’s aviation sector should not have been found in such a deteriorated state. Particularly because we have in the background a previous downgrading by the FAA from a category one to category two status in 2000.”

Another follow-up audit on The Bahamas is set to take place in November, and Minister Hanna-Martin said this one is crucial as another failure for The Bahamas could have serious repercussions, including published warnings, the country being forced to issue notices of significant safety concern and The Bahamas being placed on the world black list.

But before any of this happens Mrs. Hanna-Martin said her ministry is continuously putting steps in place to prevent any fallout with the international aviation industry.

“Just last week there was the official signing of the purchase agreement for a $14 million radar,” she explained.

“Just (Tuesday), the government approved the purchase of screening and explosives detection equipment for several Family Island airports namely Exuma, Bimini, North Eleuthera, Marsh Harbour, San Salvador and the Lynden Pindling International Airport, which we expect to be installed in those airports later this year.”

She added that plans are in the works for more immediate and direct focus on airports in islands like Mayaguana, Bimini and Arthur’s Town.

Mrs. Hanna-Martin said with 56 airports in the country, there has to be a highly coordinated and systematic approach to addressing these issues.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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