By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The challenges affecting the aviation industry, particularly the local sector and recommendations to help Guyana persevere in the face of these challenges took center stage at an award ceremony held by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) on Saturday evening (December 7).
The Award Ceremony was held in observance of International Civil Aviation day, on December 7, under the theme: “Evolving to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century Air Transport.”
According to Chairman of the GCAA Hugh Denbow some of the challenges which the body recognizes as existing locally includes Guyana’s ability to respond to issues which deal with Aviation Safety, Air Traffic Management, Economic Regulations (for both domestic and international operations) reliable and adequate International Air Transportation Services Aviation Security and the modernization of airport faculties.
He said Guyana is also faced with the challenge of the need to strengthen institutional capacity and most importantly to recruit additional staff and provide specialized and relevant training for current qualified staff members.
“Recognizing these immediate challenges are okay, however the obvious question is what is being done to respond to them and also to evolve to meet the challenges of the 21 century,” Denbow added.
He opined that Guyana and more specifically the GCAA may have been too slow in reacting to the dynamics of the International Civil Aviation Community with respect to these issues. He said since 1993, it has not been in full conformity with international standards and recommended practices.
Meanwhile, Director General of the GCAA Zulficar Mohamed joined with the Chairman to express dissatisfaction with the lack of trained personnel to move the sector forward.
According to Denbow “gone are the days of Government sponsored students being sent for training at such aviation institutions such as Air Services Training School in Perth, Scothland or Cranfield School of Management in Bedfordshire, England or Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona beach” among others.
He said most of the persons whom have studied in the past are either retired or close to retirement and urged the speedy training of current qualified staff while saluting those who have provided yeoman service towards the development of civil aviation in Guyana.
“Although the word evolve may mean to develop gradually, we in Guyana cannot develop civil aviation gradually. We have much catching up to do and therefore we must embark on an accelerated programme to bring our country’s civil aviation system to internationally accepted standards.”
Despite these challenges, however the Director General pointed to improvements in the sector, ranging from increased passenger movement to increase cargo and the ongoing development of the main airport and hinterland airstrips.
His colleague Dembow pointed to some issues that will be addressed in 2014 among which is review the Civil Aviation Act of 200 to address aviation safety and aviation security issues. Other issues to be reviewed in the Act are international and domestic economic regulations and incident navigation and bilateral Air Services Agreements.
Additionally, strengthening the institutional capacity of the body will be addressed along with special emphasis on moving the modernization progress of airports and airstrips along, among others.