News
August 17, 2010
SVG AIR: Aircraft are properly maintained

It’s almost two weeks since the light aircraft owned and operated by SVG Air disappeared while on its way to Canouan.

But the management of SVG Air contends that their aircraft are properly maintained.{{more}} The management has also made it clear that the company has in the past, and continues to comply with the regulations of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) for mandatory checks and inspections on their fleet.

“We have spent a fortune on maintenance,” Paul Gravel, Managing Director of SVG Air told SEARCHLIGHT, adding that the company has in stock thousands of dollars in spare parts.

“We change parts regularly because it is not forgiving to fly; you can’t just pull off the road,” he continued.

Gravel pointed out that the pilots at SVG Air are routinely trained, at least twice a year, and go over procedures so they know how to react in the event that there is a crisis.

“We have a lot of confidence in the aircraft,” the Managing Director told SEARCHLIGHT.

“It was obviously something else, perhaps something that he was not trained for,” he said, noting that had it been something that Suresh Lakhram was familiar with, he would have been able to deal with the situation. Lakhram was the pilot of the Cessna 402 that disappeared en route to Canouan on the evening of Thursday, August 5.

Gravel said he was also concerned about the possibility that another aircraft may have been in the area, but may not have had the opportunity to indicate its coordinates to the tower.

Martin Barnard, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Board Member, airing his views on the matter said the airline is subject to rigid guidelines and inspections by the ECCAA or else they risk losing their license to operate.

“It’s a very, very strict process,” Barnard said.

“You can’t have public transport unless there is tremendous oversight,” said Barnard.

In terms of the maintenance team at SVG Air, Barnard explained that the people currently employed are well qualified.

“Employees must have proper credentials before they are hired,” he told SEARCHLIGHT.

But in terms of the company’s future operations, Barnard said that top management was looking into a few options beginning with them getting rid of the small aircraft and having two crew members on all flights instead of one.

“I think this is the way we have to go, from being one thing to another,” Barnard said. (DD)