Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Well That's Not Nice

From Channel 5 Belize:
Guatemala bans Belizean commercial flightsBelize’s two local airlines are feeling the pinch following the banning of Belizean commercial flights into Guatemala. According to spokespersons for Tropic and Maya Island Air, the ban, which was instituted on November fifteenth, involves the upgrading of Guatemala’s civil aviation standards: specifically their requirement that all airlines flying to the country have a valid Air Operator’s Certificate. Although Belize’s local airlines, which each fly twice daily to Flores, Peten, were notified six months ago, they have not been able to complete the necessary technical paperwork. Following several extensions, the Guatemalans finally enforced the new regulations and since Thursday Maya and Tropic have stopped flying across the border. Ironically, while the airlines have been forced to refund fares and with tourists either cancelling or arranging ground transport, the biggest loser has been the tourist industry in Peten which has been deprived of around thirty visitors per day, largely to the ancient Maya site of Tikal. Late word is that following negotiations between the two countries’ civil aviation authorities, a compromise is being worked out to give the Belizeans interim landing rights and more time to comply with the regulations. At news time, however, the flight ban remained in effect.


Guyana-Gyal said...

Interim landing rights but with a ban sounds like they can land but they can't land.

Caribbean Colors said...

This was just in the Reporter:
Failure by Belize’s Gov’t causing Civil Aviation to lose momentum

Although substantial progress has been made in the area of airworthiness for Belize’s surging aircraft passenger service, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has stopped short of giving its approval for international flights.

That is why Guatemala has barred further flights from Belize into Flores, a popular route for tourists who want to visit the great Maya ruins of Tikal.

Both Tropic Air and Maya Island Air are affected by the ban.

The last Executive Summary by ICAO notes that although individual airlines have made progress to enhance airworthiness and passenger safety, it is the Government of Belize which is lagging behind, by failing to pass legislation to regulate civil aviation in Belize. Regulations have no validity because there is no enabling legislation to support them.

The report notes that the draft Civil Aviation Act has not yet been approved. It notes also that the draft legislation does not clearly establish the powers, duties and functions of the Department of Civil Aviation and points out that the draft Act contradicts itself and does not clearly establish who will have authority to approve Civil Aviation Regulations.

Furthermore it says the civil aviation regulations (which already exist) are “only a draft without legal validity”.

The report notes that although some improvements in the personnel licensing area have been achieved since 2001, air traffic controllers in Belize are not required to undergo a medical assessment. This is a flaw which is in direct contravention of the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order of 1977.

The report notes that the Department of Civil Aviation is still underfunded by the government of Belize, and there are no certified air operators in Belize.

This “limits the ability of the Department to recruit, retain and train inspectors”, the ICAO says.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Hopefully, election time will make a lot of positive changes.