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ECCAA aims to return to Tier One status

ECCAA aims to return to Tier One status
CARLOS JAMES

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A DECLARATION OF intent has been signed by Eastern Caribbean territories, as countries move to harmonise their civil aviation legislation to allow the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) more teeth in regulatory aspects of civil aviation in the region.

This action comes as efforts continue among member states to have ECCAA return to tier one status after being downgraded to Tier two in 2020, a release from ECCAA states.

“One of the challenges we had when we were downgraded to a category two was that some countries, though they may have been up to par with the requisite regulations and standards, safety and oversight, there were some that were well below that standard,” this country’s minister with responsibility for civil aviation, Carlos James, said at a press conference last week Tuesday morning, where he gave an update on discussions held at the recently held fourth ministerial meeting of the ECCAA Member States in Miami.

ECCAA oversees aviation security for Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in 2020, assessed ECCAA to not be compliant with certain international safety standards, which resulted in the downgrade to tier two.

The tier two International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating means either that laws or regulations lack the necessary requirements to oversee air carriers “in accordance with minimum international standards”; or that a civil aviation authority like ECCAA is deficient in areas such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping, inspection procedures or resolution of safety concerns.

James, at Tuesday’s press conference, said ministers agreed to work along with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and the ECCAA to facilitate giving the Authority’s director general “a lot more oversight as to the regulatory aspect of civil aviation” with the Member States.

A decision was also taken “to allow ECCAA to function with a stronger mandate so as to properly regulate the aspects at our airport and our airspace in relation to safety and oversight as it relates to the constant monitoring and licensing and the operations, as it relates to the regulatory aspects of the protocols that deal with regulations that allow us to be in conformity with the International Civil Aviation Organisation”.

The minister said it is the hope that by the end of 2022, a number of different measures will be explored, in continued efforts to have the ECCAA return to its tier one status.

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