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Pilots, domestic airlines face licence revocation; public urged to “See Something, Say Something. Step Up, Save a Life”

Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, Retired Lt. Col. Egbert Field.

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) threatens to revoke pilots and operators’ licences if they are found culpable of breaching regulations, even as that regulatory authority is asking Guyanese to lodge anonymous complaints whenever they see any suspicious activity in the aviation sector on the ground or in the air.

GCAA Director-General, Retired Lt. Col. Egbert Field said he Monday afternoon met the pilots and operators about steps being taken to ensure compliance with all safety rules and regulations from ground level to 60,000 feet. “Such complaint will be investigated and once the operator or pilot is found culpable of violating the safety of our skies or of the handling of any aviation machinery contrary to the regulations, I will use the powers bestowed on me in the law, including our recently approved Civil Aviation Act, to apply sanctions. The sanctions will include but not limit to revocation of licence or air operators certificates,” he said.

The regulator’s threat comes against the background of two recent plane accidents, one of which resulted in the death of the pilot, Randy Liverpool. Aircraft Accident Investigator, Paula McAdam is conducting probes and will be submitting her reports directly to Aviation Minister, David Patterson.

Field urged the public to confidentially call in complaints to the GCAA’s hotline number 608-4222 as part of the initiative called “See Something, Say Something. Step Up, Save a Life”. “The authority is not able, with its human resources, in-house, to monitor the outlying areas such as the interior and the hinterland effectively, thus we are calling on the public who are also part of the flying community to assist us in conducting oversight of our aviation sector,” the GCAA Director-General said.

Field explained that one of the reasons for enlisting the support and involvement of the public is because “you get the little reports or the comments you hear every now and then about the deviation of pilots but there is no formal reporting system”.

The United States’ Transportation Safety Administration and Federal Aviation Administration, he said, have similar programmes that involve the public in monitoring the services.

The GCAA also intends to introduce a mentoring programme through which pilots with 10,000 or more flying hours would coach junior pilots. Field also announced that the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system is being tested and will be fully launched by July to monitor all planes in Guyana’s airspace once they have transponders that allow them to be detected by monitoring stations at Kaieteur, Annai, Paramakatoi, Kamarang and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

Currently, the GCAA official said 65 percent of the planes traversing Guyana’s airspace have transponders, with the remainder expected to have the system installed by July.