|Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson (left), in discussion with Chief Air Traffic Controller, Cedric Murrell (centre), and Director of the Civil Aviation Department, Mitchinson Beckles, at the flag raising ceremony. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??|
Civil Aviation in Barbados is undergoing major developments with respect to both legislation regarding Air Services, and infrastructure of the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) and its supporting facilities.
This was stated by Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson at the Official Flag Raising Ceremony at the GAIA to commemorate Civil Aviation Day, which was celebrated last Wednesday, December 7.????????????
He said: "Despite the downturn in the global economy, the demand for international air transport continues to grow substantially." He reported that growth for the period 2011 – 2015 was expected to increase at a rate of two per cent in the next two years, and three per cent thereafter. This projection, he added, was based on the assumption that there would be a steady recovery in the global economic environment and the international demand for air services in the region.
"With the increase in the volume of traffic that is projected, we must ensure that facilities at the GAIA are kept up to date and in a position to deal with increasing passenger traffic," Mr. Hutson stated.
Speaking about the development of the Airport Master Plan, he disclosed that the draft report still had some final adjustments to be made and officials "expect to submit that plan for the approval of the Cabinet before the end of this financial year."
Mr. Hutson also spoke about the development of regional and international trade agreements that would have an impact on international transport in Barbados.
"We have…at the level of Government, negotiated Air Service agreements with Panama and updated our Memorandum of Understanding with Venezuela with regards to the provision of Air Services between our two states," he reported.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of GAIA Inc., David Barrow said that?? revamping the GAIA into a destination in itself would "bring the people of Barbados towards the airport as an experience to shop, to visit their friends, to meet people…and have a good pleasant experience".
He explained: "If in our source market, persons are not able to afford to come to Barbados, these are the activities that will have to sustain the airport…the airport will have to be more closely integrated with local society and those of our nearer neighbours and CARICOM partners."
Concerning the issue of the physical conditions in which some airport workers had to operate, the International Transport Minister reported that he was "vigorously pursuing" the establishment of a separate office building for the Civil Aviation Department, which has been approved by Cabinet. The building is expected to be a reality "within the next 18 months to two years," he announced.