GOV’T INVESTING IN VG AIRPORT
ENSURE ITS CONTINUED OPERATION
Last week Government announced
that the Virgin Gorda Airport’s operation license has been extended until
January 21, 2006, and that the Government is making immediate investments into
the airport to ensure that a longer-term license can be granted in the future.
Minister for Communications and
Works Honourable J. Alvin Christopher made the announcement in a statement at
Legislative Council on 14 December. The Minister said that since Government took
control of the Virgin Gorda Airport earlier this year, the BVI Airports
Authority in collaboration with the Department of Civil Aviation has been
working tirelessly to ensure that the airport meets all the requirements of the
regulator, Air Safety Support International (ASSI).
“The Department of Civil Aviation
and the BVI Airports Authority will continue to work towards ensuring that all
the requirements requested by ASSI are met in connection with the Virgin Gorda
Airport. We will address the safety issues that exist at the airport to bring it
up to international standards,” he said.
The Minister said that the
facility’s newly-extended license can be renewed again upon satisfactory
inspection of the aerodrome before the end of January 2006, and will be renewed
through March 31, 2006.
Meanwhile, Minister Christopher
outlined steps that are being taken to bring the airport in line with
international airport safety requirements. The Minister announced that Mr. Coy
Levons has been assigned by the Airports Authority as duty manager to oversee
the daily operation of the Virgin Gorda Airport.
Other enhancements include
strengthening communications and fire-fighting capability. “The two-way air to
ground communication has been installed at the airport in Virgin Gorda, and a
fire tender along with two officers from Beef Island have also been repositioned
on a rotational basis, to ensure that the necessary fire coverage is in place in
Virgin Gorda,” the Minister said.
In addition, shrubs and other
infringements close to the runway strip were removed.
On November 2 Government entered
into an agreement with a Canadian firm, Sypher: Mueller International Inc., to
provide it with all possible alternatives to bring the Virgin Gorda Airport to a
full licensable standard. A preliminary report from the consultants proposed a
number of immediate actions that could be taken to enhance the airport’s
compliance with Overseas Territories Aviation Regulations.
Minister Christopher said the
recommendations were accepted by Executive Council on December 7, along with
other basic requirements that were requested by Air Safety Support
“Executive Council has also
approved funding in the amount of $800,000 dollars to carry out the necessary
improvements to the airport in order to ensure continued air access to Virgin
Gorda,” the Minister said
The development of the airport is
part of Government’s 92-point Legislative Agenda to ensure the Territory’s
infrastructural links are improved and meet international standards.
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