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ECCAA Director General prefers new airport option

ECCAA Director General prefers new airport option

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Rosemond James, Director General of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) is of the view that the option to construct a new airport at Argyle rather than upgrade and expand the E.T.Joshua Airport may prove to be the best.{{more}}

Addressing participants at an Airline Operators/Managers Symposium, which was held at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown on Monday, November 10, James pointed out that over the years, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has and continues to introduce new standards and recommended practices as it revises old ones, making them more stringent and exacting.

James said as a consequence of this, private or government/State owned airports have to be certified, and within this context, “E.T Joshua Airport, for example, will have tremendous difficulty meeting the new standards without significant cost and dislocation of persons in its vicinity.”

The symposium was held primarily dealt with matters relating to the Argyle International Airport.

James disclosed that the ECCAA, through its representatives, has had the opportunity to discuss the plans with the International Airport Development Company (IADC), and the feedback from these officers is generally good.

James elaborated stating: “They have raised a number of issues with respect to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices pertaining to the physical characteristics of airport, and they seem satisfied that all but one of the observations they have discussed would be addressed.”

Prime Minister Dr.Ralph Gonsalves later explained in his presentation that this one issue related to the wind studies. He said so far, the meteorologists on the project have collected three years of data and the ECCAA requires five. The Prime Minister said the five years data required will be met by the time the project ends.

It should be noted, said James, that in order for an airport to meet some of the (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices, especially those relating to Runway End Safety Areas and Declared Distances, Civil Aviation Security and Obstacles Limitations, the airport would have to be constructed taking them into consideration from inception.

“Systems must also be in place from the very beginning of construction to ensure that once in operation, adherence to the international standards governing airport operations is achieved,” said James.

The Director General, in his address, stated that while the determination of the need for airports is not within the mandate of the ECCAA, the organization is of the view that States which are blessed with an international airport are generally better positioned socio-economically.

The ECCAA is the regional body that serves as a vehicle for facilitating a collective and uniform approach to Civil Aviation matters affecting the OECS.

“One can, therefore, safely assume that SVG, by constructing the Argyle International Airport, is attempting to better position itself,” said James. (HN)