Categorized | National News

Reform For Aviation Sector–Existing Model No Longer Viable

The government has taken the first step towards reforming the local aviation sector.

Presenting a “compelling” case to make this happen, Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin said the country’s existing aviation model is no longer viable practically or economically.

The reform calls for the separation of various aviation functions to create a higher standard of accountability, greater efficiency and more transparency.

This means airport operations like security services, commercial operations, crash, fire rescue services and air traffic services will be separated.

However, they will all come under the umbrella of the Airport Authority.

“The strict function of regulatory oversight for legal compliance of airports, aviation personnel and standards for all other aviation activities will vest solely in a body called the Civil Aviation Authority and a further separation is anticipated in the creation of a unit to investigate aviation incidents and accidents,” Minister Hanna Martin said as she opened debate on a proposed amendment to the Airport Authority Act.

The government anticipates that by the latter quarter of 2014, all three entities – the Airport Authority, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Accidents and Investigation Unit – will have been operational for at least three months.

According to the minister, the reforms are tied to an Inter-American Development (IDB) policy based loan, which includes acquiring a new $14 million radar that’s expected to be installed by December 2014.

If passed, the amended law will also see to it that all government-owned and operated airports – 28 in total – will come under the Airport Authority, beginning with the Marsh Harbour Airport (MHA) in Abaco.

“There will be no prejudice to government employees transferred to the authority and in fact in a recent meeting I held with employees of the Marsh Harbour Airport, a consensus was reached that brings enhanced benefits in the Airport Authority not currently available in the public service,” the minister assured.

A new $27.3 million MHA was slated for completion this past July.

However, Minister Hanna Martin on Wednesday admitted that there are ongoing problems with the design.
But despite the setbacks, the government has promised to complete “all aspects” of construction and “do what is necessary to open the facility…”

“The urgent need to open this new terminal is compounded by the profound inadequacy of the current terminal and the gross inconvenience to passengers using that terminal,” the minister said.

“I am advised by the Ministry of Works that an opening date is now set for January 2014. In the meantime, we have been busy preparing for the opening, we are short listing applicants for air traffic control, crash, fire rescue workers and the range of security personnel…I have recently invited the advice of Vantage Airport Group as to how in any event we can ensure the MHA becomes an exciting and cost effective airport, which sustains itself commercially.”

According to the minister, a senior manager has also been seconded to the Civil Aviation Department and is currently in place in Marsh Harbour to oversee the transition to the Airport Authority and ultimately private management.

“She has been in dialogue with all airline stakeholders and the contractors to prepare the ground for occupancy on completion,” she said.

“The senior management of the Airport Authority and the Airport Authority Board has already undertaken inspections the facility and has completed an analysis and is advanced in its preparation. I expect they will meet with airport staff over the next several days. The facility is now being outfitted and furnished.”

A team of Ministry of Works and Transport officials along with technical officers from the Department of Civil Aviation is expected to visit Marsh Harbour on Friday to meet with contractors to agree to a schedule for the final works, which are expected to be completed next January.

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook