Aircraft owners piqued at budget snub

The Aircraft Owners’ Association of Guyana (AOAG) is disappointed that none of the recommendations made by the aviation industry for its development was addressed in the national budget and that the Parliamentary Opposition has cut funding for the entire aviation sector, including the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Expansion Project.

In a press statement, the AOAG said that after the National Economic Forum in July 2013, hosted by the government and in which the Parliamentary Opposition participated, the Aviation Sub-Group of the Forum submitted in February a comprehensive Policy Proposal and Action Plan for the Aviation Industry which was subsequently approved by the National Competitive Strategy Council chaired by President Donald Ramotar.

The aviation industry policy proposal includes a menu of measures, all of which are well within the financial reach of our country’s budget, vital for Guyana to conform to the requirements and practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisa-tion (ICAO), the press release said.

The most urgent among the industry’s recommendations set out in the proposal for government’s immediate attention are independent aircraft accident investigations and prompt public reporting of probe findings and actions taken by the Guyana Civil Aviation Association (GCAA); a national search and rescue system with appropriate protocols under the Civil Defence Commission; strengthening of GCAA’s institutional capacity in order to achieve and maintain a Category One US FAA (Federal Aviation Administration)/ International Aviation Safety Assessments (IASA) status; and implementing recommendations for hinterland airstrip development to accommodate larger aircraft and with sufficient budgetary funding to support an efficient maintenance and rehabilitation programme.

The AOAG looks forward to the National Assembly seriously addressing the development of the aviation industry in a constructive and comprehensive manner if Guyana is expected to meet its developmental objectives and obligations, particularly with regard to serving hinterland communities and the mining, forestry and tourism industries, the release added.

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