[FlyMontserrat] Safety issues reason for grounding airline

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[FlyMontserrat] Safety issues reason for grounding airline

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Oct 18, 2012

http://www.antiguaobserver.com/safety-i ... g-airline/

[FlyMontserrat] Safety issues reason for grounding airline
Kyle Christian - Observer Media
Thursday, October 18th, 2012.

St. John’s Antigua

Fly Montserrat’s safety issues have been a “cause for concern” for civil aviation authorities, forcing them to suspend the airline’s service, indefinitely.

Donald McPhail, general director of Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA), said his organisation only has the jurisdiction to suspend the airline’s service in the Eastern Caribbean states and that Fly Montserrat is free to operate outside of that region.

The move came nine days after the tragic crash at VC Bird International Airport which killed three people. And hours after another of the company’s aircraft overshot the runway in Montserrat.

“We cannot tell Fly Montserrat that they cannot fly,” McPhail said. “They can fly from, for example, Montserrat to Anguilla because those states are not under our authority.”

However, Fly Montserrat operates flights between Antigua, Montserrat, and Nevis, thus the move by ECCAA has essentially grounded the airline.

“We do not feel that they (Fly Montserrat) should be allowed to operate in the OECS territories until some corrective actions are taken,” he said. “In this regard, we have advised all the OECS member states which fall under the ECCAA.”

The civil aviation chief did not specify exactly what conditions the airline needed to meet in order to resume service. All he would say is, “we don’t want to disclose that. That is for them to do.”

Neither would he disclose a deadline for the airline to address ECCAA’s concerns. The suspension of service is “until further notice.”

Although the timing of the suspension would indicate that it is a result of the recent incidents, McPhail would not say that was the exact cause.

Travellers to Montserrat will have to use SVG Air, operating out of St Vincent, as the Montserrat Ferry Service is down due to inclement weather, and will not resume until next Thursday.

McPhail said ECCAA’s role in civil aviation is to ensure an acceptable level of safety exists particularly for those organisations that provide air transportation.

“If at any time we are not satisfied or we see indications that are cause for concern we would intervene rather than keep our fingers crossed and hope that nothing happens,” he said.

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