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Grantly Adams Taking off!

October 31, 2007

8-grantley-adams.jpgGRANTLEY ADAMS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT will be a Category 1 airport by yearend.

This assurance was given by Minister of Tourism and International Transport Noel Lynch in the House of Assembly yesterday, as he said the top-flight categorisation was needed in light of an influx of visitors, an increase in aircraft flying into this space, and the overall human traffic of 2.3 million now transiting the airport yearly.

Saying this was a far cry from the mere 1.8 million people who transited the Seawell, Christ Church airport just six years ago, Lynch said since 2004 the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) had visited Barbados three times for ongoing inspections at the airport regarding Barbados’ civil aviation capacity.

He said that, as a result, the enactment of appropriate legislation was necessary and was made in 2004 with the Civil Aviation Act. Some 23 amendments were made to the act and passed yesterday, making the legal requirements for Category 1 status complete.

“We expect that Barbados will have its Category 1 status by December 31, 2007 when we should be more than complete,” he told the Lower Chamber as he moved the Civil Aviation (Amendment) Bill 2007.

Lynch said there were some outstanding issues regarding the establishment of appropriate personnel, licensing capability, the provision of adequate and appropriate guidance material and a safety oversight structure, but overall Barbados was close to fulfilling all of its obligations with international civil aviation bodies.

He also said issues of personnel and requirements for operational capacity had been satisfied, while the required technical guidance materials were about 80 per cent complete and would be finished by the end of November.

He added that a major tourism destination like Barbados clearly needed physical and legislative expansion, and whereas eight years ago, there was only one American Airlines flight into Barbados daily, there were now several: a USAir from Charlotte and Philadelphia, Continental from Newark which was replaced by Delta that also flies four days a week from Atlanta, an American Airlines double-daily out of Miami, as well as a five-day weekly AA out of New York, and a non-stop Air Jamaica flight from Fort Lauderdale three times a week.

He also mentioned 11 British Airways flights in the winter from Gatwick, and Virgin Atlantic filling the slot given up by Air Jamaica at Heathrow
non-stop to Barbados eight times a week from December this year.

Lynch said another reason Barbados needed to become Category 1 was the possibility of some day having its own international airline, like Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, which both have Category 1 rating.

The amended Civil Aviation Act allows for tougher sanctions against companies not properly licensing aircraft and against passengers seeking to take hazardous devices or materials intended for criminal purposes on board aircraft.

The fine for failing to licence an aircraft is $250 000 or three years in prison.

Additionally, the Act provides sanctions for the unlawful seizure of an aircraft, the taking of hostages onboard an aircraft, and forcible intrusion onto an aircraft.


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