GCAA temporarily suspends all interior shuttle operations

DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has issued a temporary suspension on all shuttle operations in the interior following three airplane crashes over the last two months.

The decision was announced today by the Director General, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret’d) Egbert Field, at a press conference at the Authority’s headquarters, High Street, Kingston. The GCAA has demanded the submission of documented procedures and policies for shuttle operations by local air operators.

Director General of the GCAA Egbert Field.

The suspension stemmed from preliminary analysis of the three recent plane crashes in the interior, two of which were fatal. Field noted that these planes were conducting shuttles when they crashed.

“The Authority has now taken the decision to suspend all operations until the documented procedures and policies for shuttle operations are submitted, reviewed and approved by the inspectors of this Authority,” Field said in his opening statement to the media.

The GCAA will be examining air operators’ procedures as it relates to qualified loaders, certified dispatchers and operational control at their base and various locations as indicated in the operating manuals. GCAA will also be conducting onsite investigations to verify these procedures are in place on site.

The GCAA, in the meantime, will take more immediate action with increased surveillance at the Eugene F. Correia Airport. “The Authority has also taken further steps to increase its surveillance of air operators by conducting more ramp inspections of flights going out,” Field explained.

Field noted while this “will put a drain on our small human resource… we consider it a necessary move in order to not only have more surveillance out there but to show the travelling public that their concerns are being looked after”.

Shuttle operations were green lighted by the GCAA on a small scale but Field pointed out these have since grown “rapidly” over the years with more than 70 aircrafts registered with the oversight body. “The Authority is seeking to regulate this type of operation,” Field noted while pointing out that shuttles are usually “risky”.

Simplified, shuttle operation is taking several trips to deliver, mostly cargo, from one location to another. Field noted it is utilized mostly by miners.  “I know that the halting of the shuttle operations in the interior will create some hardship for miners and also inhabitants but we think this a necessary measure to halt it until we can have documented the procedures and the policies by operators so that we are assured that the air operators are maintaining operational control,” Field said.

Field assured that the decision to suspend shuttles was not a “knee jerk” reaction but was taken after careful analysis. The GCAA, he added is concerned by the incidents of air accidents. “We hope that this will not take too long but I am expecting manuals and documents…to be submitted to the Authority very shortly,” Field said.

 

By: Tiffny Rhodius

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