There is a need to re-define the Territory’s airspace because the current unaccounted-for space has created a technicality that allows the landing of aircrafts on Anegada without notice to the BVI Airports Authority. This announcement was made by Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie on 16 July.
The Premier made the disclosure noting that the situation being left unattended leaves room for security risks.
Hon. Fahie told his colleagues: “It is imperative that the airspace in the Territory be re-defined to include all the sovereign islands. A study was done on this approximately ten (10) years ago which highlighted that a re-definition would cost approximately $900,000.”
In further explaining the current situation Hon. Fahie pointed out that with the airspace being the way it is aircrafts can bypass notifying the BVI Airports Authority before landing on Anegada: “This [air space redefinition]is required as aircrafts are landing on Anegada without communication with the Control Tower at Beef Island, since Anegada is outside of the controlled airspace and this renders communication with Beef Island as not necessary,” Hon. Fahie said.
As it relates to the security risks this current issue poses the Premier said: “This also presents a serious national security risk. Anegada has no customs and immigration checkpoints. And what is happening at present is that persons are flying in to Anegada, without the knowledge of the Authority, customs or immigration, and then those persons are using ferries as domestic travellers to move from one island to the next. This situation can facilitate illegal drugs, undesirable persons and contraband entering our Territory.”
Furthermore the Premier said that this breach prevents the Territory from being able to collect the $10 Environmental Fee and duties on goods as applicable.