By midyear, officers who fall under the Civil Aviation umbrella should be operating out of spanking new facilities.

That assertion came from Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, during a recent tour of that Department???s new headquarters in Charnocks, Christ Church.

Noting that the officers were currently scattered across the island, Mr. Sealy pointed out that there were several advantages to having them in one location.

???It is essential if we are to take civil aviation to another level that the regulators have the appropriate facilities that they can operate from in comfort. They have been scotching for too long, a section here, a section there, and we are talking sometimes about officers located between Bridgetown, Warrens and the Airport,??? he explained.

He added that the facility, which cost just over $10 million to build, was close enough to the aerodrome to make it easier for workers to observe weather conditions and other situations occurring at the airport. ???The safety group will also be based here and it is always good to have them not only near the airport, but with a bird???s eye view of that general area to observe any incidents,??? Mr. Sealy stated.

The Minister also lauded members of the project team for the work completed so far, noting that it was almost within budget. ???There will be extra because we need to erect a retaining wall, but we are on budget otherwise,??? he emphasised.

Project Manager, Dr. Winston Harvey, explained that the project had progressed rapidly since construction began in April of last year. Attributing this to a high level of cooperation between consultants, contractors and sub-contractors, he described the operation as ???pretty smooth, with no major problems.

???We have not had any safety issues [and] the project has gone off without any major hitches. We have not even lost many days due to weather. Any engineering project has challenges, so at the beginning we had to do some tweaking of the foundation ??? that is standard for projects on land that is not level or normal building land,??? Mr. Harvey clarified, explaining that the site of the project was formerly a cane estate.

The Civil Aviation Building will house persons from the Civil Aviation Department, Transport Licensing and the Meteorological Department.

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