The Chairman of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Retired Lt.Col. Larry London on Tuesday floated the idea of setting up a Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) that is governed by its own regulations and aimed at stemming the brain-drain and securing jobs for aviation personnel on foreign-registered aircraft working in the region.
Speaking at the opening of the 23rd Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS) Board of Directors Meeting, London, he said a CCAA could model its regulations from the minimum standards by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as well as the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (UKCAA) and the United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) which have crafted
their own regulations.
“Usually, those standards are much higher than what the ICAO would have put out…I am wondering if the time is not right for the Caribbean Community to have its own civil aviation authority where all the Caribbean states will issue licences to say ‘you are a Caribbean Aviation Authority engineer or pilot even though that licence would have been issued in one of the States’ but it’s a CAA licence,” he said.
He queried what would be the requirements for the CAA to be accredited by the UKCAA, FAA and European Civil Aviation Safety Agency to allow for the regionally issued licences are “good anywhere in the world”.
London’s suggestion came against the background of recent concerns about a Canadian crew flying a Canadian-registered plane that is owned by Guyana Goldfields/ Aurora Gold Mines (AGM). The company has assured that three local pilots were hired and two local pilots are in the final stages of their re-certification process to enable them to be fully certified Twin Otter pilots “and will continue to advance their aviation career with AGM.”
He said such an approach would, for instance, allow Guyanese pilots to fly Canadian-registered aircraft in Guyana instead of hiring foreign pilots who have to be retrained in Canada to be retrained or re-certified before he is accepted on that plane. He called on participants of the CASSOS meeting to examine what are the options available in the Multilateral Air Services Agreement (MASA).
London, a former Guyana Defence Force pilot, expressed concern that the Caribbean appeared to be churning out maintenance and operation crews who then leave and work outside internationally, causing Caribbean nations to train fresh groups of personnel.
“I am wondering whether we are not shooting ourselves in the foot by not taking stock if what has been happening and taking corrective action,” he said.
The GCAA noted that the MASA allows for recognition of certification among a number of Civil Aviation regulatory agencies in the region, but the time has come to have them recognised by international counterparts.
CASSOS describes itself a Regional Safety Oversight Organisation (RSOO) that aims at facilitating the growth and development of aviation in the region through training, resource sharing, harmonization of policies and procedures among other areas as its Member States seek to uphold the highest standards of safety and security in aviation.