Ministry pushes for return to CAT-1 aviation safety

POSTED: 01/31/13 11:40 AM
Minister Pantophlet ref IASO Airport Category 1
Minister of Transportation Romeo Pantophlet (third from left) with officials from St. Maarten’s Aviation Department and IASO. Photo contributed

St. Maarten – In its ongoing attempts to bring the Civil Aviation Department back to Category I status, Minister Romeo Pantophlet has engaged the services of the International Air Safety Office, Inc. to perform a gap analysis.

The analysis is intended to identify the gaps in the present safety oversight function, and to thereafter develop a comprehensive corrective action plan. The corrective action plan would then be used as a roadmap and a benchmark in order for St. Maarten to regain the International Aviation Safety Assessment Cat-I designation, and to thereafter maintain that designation.

IASO Inc. will work with the civil aviation authority in developing a model for a self-sustaining aviation system, similar to that of Aruba, which can be a new and innovative source of future revenue for St. Maarten.

IASO Inc. has almost twenty years of aviation safety oversight experience and has successfully built a team of reputable and experienced aviation consultants in various fields. Their team of aviation consultants is comprised of former national aviation administration inspectors and surveyors, who hold vast knowledge of the field, and who are capable of delivering world-class consulting, regulatory, and technical services in compliance with ICAO, SARP’s, EASA, FAA, Transport Canada, Brazil and other global civil aviation authorities. Also, IASO Inc. was instrumental in establishing Aruba’s foreign registry for aircraft and also ensuring that Aruba maintained the IASA CAT-1 rating.

The IASO Inc. team was on St. Maarten during the week of January 21 to prepare their assessment. The assessment has been completed, and the team met with the minister and other government officials for a preliminary discussion of their findings last Monday. The final report will be submitted within fifteen days of Monday.

Curacao, which previously performed the civil aviation oversight on behalf of St. Maarten, was downgraded to IASA CAT 2 in November of 2011 following an audit by the Federal Aviation Administration of the civil aviation authority in Curacao. The IASA CAT-2 signifies that the authorities do not meet the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards when it comes to performing safety oversight on their respective civil aviation systems and as a consequence no new service to U.S can be operated by local carriers of St. Maarten or Curacao. In addition, local carriers are now unable to conclude code share agreements with U.S.-based carriers.

St. Maarten obtaining Category-1 status is important for the future viability and growth of our local civil aviation industry. This goal is therefore, a high priority for the civil aviation authority and as such Minister Pantophlet is exploring all possible avenues in order to ensure that St. Maarten attains the International Aviation Safety Assessment of CAT-I within the shortest time possible.


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