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Monday, March 7, 2011

Caricom Airways still grounded: Where are Doddy and Chastenet?


Maginley clears the air on Caricom Airways

By Myria Hart - Friday, March 4th, 2011.

Minister of Civil Aviation John Maginley has clarified the issue concerning the status of Caricom Airways as the means of airlift between the sister isles.

Maginley told OBSERVER that correspondence from the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) clearly indicates that the airline has not been granted permission to fly in the OECS.

“They applied for a licence to the Transport Licensing Board. I am not aware that they have (it), but that would have to be done for them to be given rights to fly to Barbuda,” Maginley said.

The minister has supplied copies of letters from ECCAA to Allen M Chastanet, minister of civil aviation in St Lucia. In the letters, ECCAA makes it clear that Caricom Airways does not have permission to fly within the OECS.

Copies of the letters dated 17th and 25th February were faxed to this newspaper on Wednesday, March 2. The correspondence of February 25 addressed to Chastanet noted, “We therefore must reiterate that our letter to you dated 17th February 2011 cannot and must not be interpreted as a permit, authorisation, license of dispensation from any requirement, granted directly or indirectly to Caricom Airways, to provide commercial air transportation in the OECS.”

“It may be prudent for Caricom Airways to desist from any type of operations until it meets the requirements for and is issued with an Air Operator Certificate by our office …” the letter further stated.

According to Maginley, “My understanding from the communication is that Caricom Airways has not fulfilled the requirements under our civil aviation regulations to be given permission to fly. And until ECCAA gives them that permission, I don’t see how we can continue further conversation with them.”

Meanwhile, the civil aviation minister addressed the matter dealing with the contract with SVG Air. Chairman of Barbuda Council Kelvin Punter told The Daily OBSERVER in an earlier interview that Council was unaware of the contractual arrangements that had been made between Central Government and SVG Air.

“As is now, SVG Air has four flights per day which is what was requested. They have a two-year contract to fly the route to Barbuda,” he said.

Calls placed to Acting Director General of ECCAA Donald McPhail for his input on the matter were answered; however, he was unavailable each time. This newspaper was told he was in a meeting.

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