Joseph threatens withdrawal from EC Civil Aviation Authority
Civil Aviation Minister Guy Joseph is displeased with the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) and has threatened to remove Saint Lucia from its clutches.
He said Saint Lucia is having difficulties with the sub-regional body over operational licenses for airlines willing to operate in Saint Lucia.
“When I see other islands having four airlines with licenses on some occasions and Saint Lucia has so much difficulty. There are all kinds of issues being raised to get a license to operate an airline from Saint Lucia,” Joseph said.
According to the Civil Aviation Minister, Saint Lucia has no intention “to continue to be held hostage at this level.”
“If this matter is not being addressed then the Government of Saint Lucia will be forced to act on its own behalf to take the necessary steps to address the concerns that we have,” Joseph said.
The Minister said “a few airline people have shown interest in Saint Lucia and continue to come to my office highlighting the challenges and difficulties they are facing in getting a basic license out of ECCAA,” Joseph said.
“If an American based airline wants to operate in Saint Lucia, they would need certified TSA persons to do their baggage handling and things of that nature and that is one of the problems we have at the George FL Charles Airport,” Joseph said.
He said his department is attempting to rectify that problem which had impacted an airline providing services to St. Croix. That airline had ceased operations at one time but is back. Joseph said Saint Lucia is in discussions with that airline, name not given, to get a 40-seater aircraft to run between Saint Lucia and Jamaica.
“We are working in getting the requisite license to be able to deal with this. Sometime ago Saint Lucia had made the pronouncement that if it could not get matters rectified through ECCAA that Saint Lucia was considering pulling out of ECCAA and being able to align itself to another agency that would offer the same service. We have not ruled this off the table completely, but we are working as best as we can with ECCAA to resolve this matter,” Joseph said.