Government has reiterated its commitment to having a safe and secure civil aviation system.

This assurance came from Permanent Secretary (Ag.) in the Ministry of International Business and International Transport, Gabrielle Springer – Taylor, in a recent address to a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS).

The Permanent Secretary, who was delivering an address on the behalf of International Transport Minister, George Hutson, told regional delegates: "The Government of Barbados is very mindful of the safe and properly functioning Civil Aviation System and we have been doing our part to meet our international obligations with respect to safety oversight.

"We have been updating our regulations to include amendments to the various International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) annexes, we have been developing new regulations for Safety Management Systems and we hope shortly to begin the process of reviewing our institutional framework which governs civil aviation," she disclosed.

Mrs. Springer-Taylor said the Grantley Adams International Airport had also been enhanced, and was continuously being upgraded to facilitate the demands of present day international travel.

"We have received assistance from CASSOS and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), who will be visiting us soon again to carry out an audit to determine our readiness for the classification of Category I Status," she revealed.

In underscoring the centrality of sound air transport to the region’s economic viability, the Government official maintained: "The region depends heavily on air transport for tourism activity. Indeed, we could not have a tourism sector, and in some cases, viable economic sectors, without the safe and reliable air transport of persons and goods.

"It is, therefore, critical that CASSOS continues to work toward the upliftment of safety and security concerns when it comes to air travel in the Caribbean Region. It is an ongoing process, the work is indeed never done," she stated.

Looking at the larger picture, Mrs. Springer – Taylor observed that civil aviation throughout the world had not been the same since the events of September 11, 2001. ??It was a "fortunate coincidence," she maintained, that the region would have seen the establishment of the CASSOS, formerly known as RASOS (Regional Aviation Safety Oversight System), in that same year.

"The CASSOS body has become so important, that it has formally become an institution within CARICOM. This has served to strengthen the regional integration movement, which Barbados fully supports.?? We are very aware of the difficulties which small states experience in meeting their international civil aviation obligations and, therefore, support the pooling and sharing of resources to reduce operational costs," she concluded.??

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