Guyana intensifies efforts to attain FAA Category 1 status

Guyana is aiming for higher skies and hoping to finally achieve full compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) within the next year, according to Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Egbert Field.

Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Egbert Field and Rickford Samaroo
Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Egbert Field and Rickford Samaroo

ICAO is a specialised agency of the United Nations that codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation. It fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure the safe and orderly aviation growth of all its member states.

In order to achieve compliance with the requirements of ICAO, a Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) is periodically conducted to assess the country’s level of effective implementation of recommendations.

Field said Guyana has improved in its ratings, scoring 64.66 per cent up from 44.24 per cent. However, media reports indicate that Guyana had scored 70 per cent in December 2015.

Nonetheless, the fairly new Director General said the GCAA will be moving forward by establishing a robust oversight system, equipped with qualified individuals.

He noted that Guyana fell in the audit due to the limited expertise in the sector but said moves are afoot to recruit competent persons.

He said the Authority will be sourcing a few experienced inspectors from the Caribbean who would become mentors and instructors for “those coming in so they can understand or appreciate the on-the-job-training.”

Field noted too that Guyana was moving in the right direction and will continue to train its staff and acquire additional skills within the Authority.

He expressed hopes that Guyana, within the next year, will possess the requisite documentation, regulation and staff to achieve a Category One Status: “But it depends on their audit and when they have the time to come in but we are moving full steam ahead.”

Category One means that air carriers from the assessed country may initiate or continue service to the United States in a normal manner and take part in reciprocal code-share arrangements with US carriers.

For Guyana it would mean that Guyanese operators would be able to fly direct to the US, among other benefits.

Full coverage

Meanwhile, the GCAA has embarked on a massive initiative to have full coverage of the country’s airspace.

Acting Director of Air and Navigation Service Rickford Samaroo explained that an automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADSB) system, which is ICAO-approved, was purchased for US$120,000 and installed at the Timehri Air Traffic Control Station.

This ADSB system broadcasts the aircraft’s position and intent automatically, and the ground station will receive that feed and display it.

Next year, more systems will be purchased and installed at the other stations in the country, namely Port Kaituma, Kamarang, Kaieteur and Annai.

Samaroo said it will take several months of testing before the entire system becomes operationalized.