Govt to establish Civil Aviation Authority
Barbados is setting up a Civil Aviation Authority to position the island to go after Category 1 ranking for the Grantley Adams International Airport.
This was revealed to the Senate Wednesday by Minister of Tourism and International Transport Senator Lisa Cummins who said the Bill had already been approved “in principle” by the Civil Aviation Department and was presently with the chief parliamentary counsel.
“We are expecting that once that has been completed, it will come to Cabinet for approval and thereafter it will come to Parliament for debate. But it is the ambition and the work ongoing in the Ministry of Tourism to have a new Civil Aviation Authority for Barbados and with that it means that we go after Category One ranking for our international airport and we have the ability to have full regulatory control of our upper and lower airspace,” Cummins said.
She made the announcement while introducing the Grantley Adams International Airport Transfer of Management and Vesting of Assets (Amendment) Bill 2021. In 2019 the Government entered into an agreement with the International Financial Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank to undertake the process of transitioning the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) into a public/private sector partnership. Cummins explained the amendments contained in the new bill before the Senate, were designed to accommodate the private investments aspect of the public/private sector partnership (PPP) arrangement which the Government is seeking to set up for the airport.
She described the proposed arrangement as “a beneficial relationship for Barbados as the concession will allow Government to achieve objectives such as the improvement and expansion of GAIA Inc’s infrastructure to meet current and future demand; provide for private sector management to address and reform the operational efficiencies and inefficiencies; improve service quality standards in line with international best practices; enhance the passenger experience and ultimately position GAIA Inc as a southern regional logistics hub for the Caribbean . . . and allow for the mobilisation of private sector investment in the GAIA.”
Cummins said the intention was to maximise the airport’s potential as an income-generator for Barbados. “The GAIA has been a state-owned commercial enterprise and we are used to having the GAIA being entirely self-funded. But the airport has been affected by the COVID -19 pandemic and there are a number of operational issues that would need to be addressed as we go into a PPP.”
“Grantley Adams International Airport is simply the central plank on which all that I am describing and all that I have not yet had an opportunity to talk about will be based, as part of a new growth trajectory.”
Cummins also announced Cabinet had approved legislation which was currently with the chief parliamentary counsel, for the recreational use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) while legislation was also being drafted in collaboration with the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) for the commercial use of drones. (GC)