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CARICOM Airways grounded by ECCAA

CARICOM Airways grounded by ECCAA


CARICOM Airways has been ordered to immediately discontinue its operations until it has been issued with the appropriate Air Operator Certificate (AOC) by the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA).{{more}}

In a letter dated December 20, 2010, and addressed to SRM Chin-A-Kwie, Chief Executive Officer of Caribbean Commuter Airways N.V., the ECCAA said that even though CARICOM Airways had been granted an AOC from the Civil Aviation Authority of Suriname, the information available to the ECCAA indicates that CARICOM Airways’ principal place of business is St. Lucia.

“As such and by virtue of the Civil Aviation Regulations of St. Lucia, CARICOM Airways must apply for and obtain an AOC issued by the ECCAA before commencing commercial air transport operations,” the letter signed by Acting Director General of the ECCAA Donald McPhail said.

The letter from the ECCAA acknowledged that on November 25, 2010, the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (St Lucia) had submitted an application on behalf of CARICOM Airways for permission to operate “as a foreign operator pursuant to Part 10 of the Regulations.”

“We wish to advise that in light of the foregoing, permission to operate under Part 10 of the Regulations cannot be granted to CARICOM Airways,” McPhail wrote.

“The ECCAA therefore instructs CARICOM Airways to immediately discontinue its operations until such time that it has been issued with the appropriate AOC by ECCAA.”

Earlier this month, St. Lucia’s Tourism Minister, Allen Chastenet had denied that CARICOM Airways was operating illegally.

Chastent’s denial came in response to a statement by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves that CARICOM Airways was operating illegally, as they have failed to address certain issues stipulated by the ECCAA for operation within the OECS.

Gonsalves made the statement in response to Chastenet’s “ultimatum” to the Government of St.Vincent and the Grenadines that unless it responds to the application for operation of CARICOM Airways in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia will stop two St. Vincent based airlines, SVG Air and Mustique Airways, from operating in St. Lucia.

Chastenet, responding to Gonsalves’ statement, said that the airline was operating under the Airline Operation Convention (AOC) from Suriname, which under the CARICOM Convention, allows member countries to accept each other’s AOC.