Category One for OECS Civil Aviation

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Category One for OECS Civil Aviation

Unread post by bimjim » Sun Jan 17, 2010

http://www.oecs.org/news-a-events/news- ... l-aviation

Category One for OECS Civil Aviation
Written by Media
Monday, 27 March 2006 08:54

OECS Chairman, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, officially accepted the Category one certificate from United States Ambassador to Barbados and the OECS Ms. Mary Kramer
Amid much pomp and ceremony, OECS Heads and Ministers of Government, Airline and Tourism officials, and civil aviation representatives, gathered in Antigua/Barbuda, Friday March 24th to celebrate the US Federal Aviation Authority (USFAA) awarding of Category One status to the OECS.

OECS Chairman, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, officially accepted the Category one certificate from United States Ambassador to Barbados and the OECS Ms. Mary Kramer. Dr. Gonsalves, his Antigua/Barbuda counterpart, prime Minister Mr. Baldwin Spencer who delivered welcome remarks, and OECS Director General Dr. Len Ishmael, all stressed the importance of the new Category One status, not just the civil aviation industry, but also to the vital tourism sector and to the free movement of people among the islands as the OECS moves to establish an Economic Union. The significance of the award was further stressed by the Chairman and management of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority who outlined the decade long struggle to achieve the milestone.

The OECS region has had a category Two rating since 1996 when a US FAA assessment of the then OECS Directorate of Civil Aviation (OECS DCA), identified a number of deficiencies, including outdated legislation, inadequate facilities and lack of technical staff. Since then, wide ranging corrective measures have been taken to deal with the deficiencies. The highlight has been the establishment of the ECCAA as a fully autonomous entity, providing safety oversight and regulating civil aviation in Member States. Other measures included the revamping civil aviation legislation; recruiting technical staff and upgrading the headquarters facilities. After several assessments by, and technical support from the USFAA, the ECCAA was advised on March 3rd 2006 by the US Embassy in Barbados that the OECS had been placed into category One.

The upgraded category One status means OECS registered air operators, such as LIAT and Caribbean Star can seek approval for new services into US territories, including Puerto Rico and St. Croix. They can also enter into code-sharing strategic alliances with counterpart US air carriers. The region would also be able to benefit from any new Open Skies Agreement with the US. These activities, which would have been restricted under category Two status, have positive implications for the region’s vital tourism sector, given their potential for increasing airlift out of the important US market.

The timing also fits well with plans by five OECS countries to hold scheduled or warm up matches for cricket world cup 2007, and the decision by OECS governments to implement an OECS Economic Union, beginning with the signing of an Economic Union Treaty in June this year.

The milestone also speaks volumes about the level of aviation safety and security oversight provided by the ECCAA, and demonstrates the effectiveness of the OECS model which other parts of the world, such as Africa have expressed an interest in emulating.

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