Major Players Turn Spotlight on Aviation

Photo: Contributed Minister of Transport and Mining Hon. Mike Henry (centre), presents the Aviation Trailblazer Award to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airways International, Chris Read (second left), on behalf of Carl Barnett, who was recognised for his contribution to aviation. Occasion was the inaugural International Civil Aviation Day Aviation Awards and Banquet held earlier this month at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston. Sharing the moment (from left) are Director General of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Nari Williams-Singh; General Manager of Aeronautical Telecommunications Ltd., Howard Armstrong; and President and CEO of the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), Audley Deidrick.

Story Highlights

  • The three major players in Jamaica’s aviation industry are looking to raise awareness about the sector and its contribution to national development.
  • JCAA is the industry regulator; Aerotel is the aeronautical telecommunications provider; and AAJ is the builder, developer and operator of airports in the country.
  • AAJ President, Audley Deidrick, tells JIS News that the collaboration was a natural one, with Jamaica’s leading stakeholders representing aviation nationally and internationally facilitating the process of educating the public on the industry in Jamaica.

The three major players in Jamaica’s aviation industry are looking to raise awareness about the sector and its contribution to national development.

The State entities, which recently came together to mark International Civil Aviation Day, are the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) and Aeronautical Telecommunications Ltd. (Aerotel).

JCAA is the industry regulator; Aerotel is the aeronautical telecommunications provider; and AAJ is the builder, developer and operator of airports in the country.

They joined forces to stage a seminar and the inaugural Aviation Awards and Banquet at The Knutsford Court Hotel in early December.

AAJ President, Audley Deidrick, tells JIS News that the collaboration was a natural one, with Jamaica’s leading stakeholders representing aviation nationally and internationally facilitating the process of educating the public on the industry in Jamaica.

“AAJ finds it a natural fit to join with the JCAA and Aerotel as key trustees of Jamaica’s civil aviation in hosting these events to recognise and celebrate World Aviation Day,” he says.

According to Mr. Deidrick, Jamaica has kept pace with the world in its aviation development. “Jamaica’s aviation industry is closely linked to world aviation history, hence when world aviation recorded its birth in 1903, Jamaica recorded its aviation birth in 1911, a mere eight years later,” he points out.

Mr. Deidrick argues that civil aviation “has been Jamaica’s most catalytic growth driver, with tourism being at the centre in a symbiotic relationship”.

Hence, he says, any reference to the contribution of gross domestic product (GDP) to the world economies and, by extension, Jamaica’s economy must of necessity recognise the contribution of civil aviation.

He informs that in 2016, approximately 5.6 million passengers passed through the island’s major gateways, with some 80 per cent or 4.4 million being tourists.

“Sangster handles the lion’s share of Jamaica’s passenger intake with 71 per cent and Norman Manley handles 29 per cent,” he points out.

Mr. Deidrick notes that tourism is responsible for 91 per cent of traffic at the Sangster airport and 50 per cent at Norman Manley.

This, he says, highlights the fact that there is a significant direct correlation between tourism and Jamaica’s aviation industry.

Director General of the JCAA, Nari Williams-Singh, agrees that aviation is a cornerstone of the country’s economic development.

He says that as the regulator of Jamaica’s civil aviation industry – the JCAA – remains steadfastly committed to ensuring the safe, secure, orderly and efficient development of the country’s air transport industry.

He points out that with oversight from the JCAA and the partnership of all stakeholders, “new worlds and unparalleled possibilities are continuing to emerge for Jamaica and other nations that depend on aviation as an engine of social and economic growth and prosperity”.

Mr. Williams-Singh notes that the observance of International Civil Aviation Day earlier this month served to “celebrate the common thrust and cooperation by civil aviation authorities and our partners to promote the standardisation of best practices as well as global and national aviation progress through the development of our local and international civil aviation industries”.

The occasion, he notes further, provided a unique opportunity to articulate, highlight and critically evaluate the opportunities, environments and threats that impact the future of aviation in Jamaica within the local and global context.

General Manager and Board Member of Aerotel, Howard Armstrong, points out that the coming together of the three entities was to raise awareness about civil aviation, noting that many things about the industry are not well understood.

He notes that civil aviation plays an important part in the economy and in the broader societal happenings of any country, and even more so an island nation.

“The three main stakeholders believe that it is in the best interest of ourselves and the country that the industry be better understood, so we decided to come together to host these events with an intention to educate and update stakeholders and the broader public on the challenges, benefits and operations of the civil aviation industry,” he explains. “We talked about where we have been, where we are going and how we hope to incorporate the public in our mutual success,” he adds.

Meanwhile, the inaugural Aviation Awards and Banquet recognised outstanding contributors to the aviation industry in Jamaica.

Those honoured were Director of International Business at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Alrene Richards-Barr, for leading the implementation of the Sister Airport Cooperation Agreement between Hartsfield-Jackson and Jamaica’s airports; Carl Barnett, who was one of the original flyers in Jamaica and a trainer of pilots; and Lt. Col. Victor Beek (posthumously), who served as a pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War II and was head of the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force.

International Civil Aviation Day commemorates the anniversary of the establishment of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as an international body that develops, promulgates and harmonises the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for the safe, efficient and sustainable operation and development of the global air transport industry.

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