Barbados urgently needs to attain Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category 1 status accreditation in order to promote growth the civil aviation sector and to create investment opportunities in the island???s air transportation sector.

Director of Civil Aviation, Mitchinson Beckles, made this observation last Wednesday, during a one-day Civil Aviation Consultation at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

He said there were many operators that were keen to operate from Barbados because of its geographical location and proximity to US ports. However, due to the absence of the Category 1 status, they were unwilling to invest in Barbados.

???Barbados not being accredited as an FAA Category 1 State is negatively impacting the growth of civil aviation in Barbados. The inability of operators to access US ports from Barbados, continues to be a deterrent for investment on commercial air transport in the island,??? Mr. Beckles said.

The Director of Civil Aviation further stated: ???The necessary resources should be made available to the Department to move it towards achieving Category 1 status for Barbados.???

Mr. Beckles also called for amendments to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which in its current state, was also retarding the expansion of the civil aviation in Barbados.

???The expansion of civil aviation in Barbados is greatly hampered by the dictates contained in the CARICOM Treaty of Chaguaramas. In this regard, Barbados must seek to have some adaptation to the [Treaty] to allow for unrestricted registering of aircraft. Barbados should take the initiative to establish a private aircraft registry,??? he underlined.

The Director Civil Aviation also gave a number of pointers on a way forward for the sector that included but were not limited to, the establishment of an aircraft repair station and a commercial airline to facilitate air cargo and air ambulance services; be involved in aviation manufacturing; and to enhance the Barbados Civil Aviation Training Centre.

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