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ET Joshua Airport to wrap up operations next Monday

ET Joshua Airport to wrap up operations next Monday

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With less than four days remaining before the last flight lands at the ET Joshua Airport, employees there are busy preparing for the move to the brand new Argyle International Airport (AIA).

And while the staff acknowledge the challenges ahead of them, they were quick to express excitement about the impending move to Argyle.

“It’s exciting, the actual transition has been a learning process,” acting chief air traffic controller Lyda Ollivierre told SEARCHLIGHT during an interview yesterday.

Ollivierre, who has worked at the ET Joshua for 26 years, added that from an operations standpoint, his staff will have an improved working environment, but he would miss the close proximity to supermarkets and the nation’s capital Kingstown.

The ET Joshua Airport will cease operations as an airport at midnight on February 13, 2017, with the last flight scheduled to arrive at 10:50 p.m. – a LIAT flight 738 from Trinidad. After the passengers disembark, the airplane will then be ferried to the AIA and be the first flight to take off from the new international airport on February 14.

Also speaking with SEARCHLIGHT yesterday, Mc Neal Duncan, the deputy chief of security at the ET Joshua Airport described the move as a good one. Although the move comes with challenges and added responsibilities, he expressed confidence in the competence of his staff, some with over 20 years experience.

Duncan, who has worked at the airport for eight years, said although the move would mean a larger space within which to work, the same procedures would apply.

He, however, added, “I’m going to miss here greatly and there’s no ifs and no buts about it.”

SEARCHLIGHT also visited the Meteorological Office, where the staff members, some with over 20 years experience, were also making preparations for the move. They acknowledged that readjusting to the new location could be challenging, but expressed excitement about the new experiences to come.

Director of Airports Corsel Robertson told SEARCHLIGHT that the opening of the AIA brings with it not just a physical move for her staff, but also a re-organization of operations and a renaming of the department.

She said the department which she heads, previously known as the ‘Airports Department,’ has been renamed the ‘Aviation Services Department’.

Under the previous arrangement, the Airports Department had responsibility for the technical areas of aviation, as well as the operations of all four government owned airports in the state.

However, with the establishment of the Aviation Services Department, the airport technicians and grounds staff, along with all building operations and management, maintenance and security functions will now fall under the management of the AIA.

The new Aviation Services Department retains responsibility for air traffic control, meteorology, aeronautical information services, other air navigation and communication services and general local oversight, including aviation security. The Aviation Services Department will also control the licensing and issuance of permits for scheduled and non-scheduled operations and related activities.

The airport at Arnos Vale was built in 1960, with operations beginning in 1962. In 1979, the terminal building was remodelled and the airport was upgraded to faciliate night landings. The facility was renamed the ET Joshua airport in December 1988.

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