KINGSTON — The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) has indicated marked growth in the local aviation industry and, by extension, tourism, as a result of Government's decision to shift to an Open Skies policy.
Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank session, Director General of the JCAA, Colonel Oscar Derby, said the policy shift has already reaped benefits, with a growing number of stop over arrivals from Canada and the USA, countries with which Jamaica has agreements.
The effect of this, Col. Derby highlighted, was that local airports are doing better business, in terms of passenger flow, and the domestic aviation sector, which picks up passengers and takes them to other aerodromes and resorts, have also been doing quite well.
He said the opening of the Lionel Densham Aerodrome in Treasure Beach,
St. Elizabeth, has seen a lot of activity from the North Coast to the resorts in that area, with Jakes, a primary attraction in the vicinity experiencing a significant rise in business.
Col. Derby noted, too, that the Ian Flemming International Airport, St. Mary, should soon benefit from marketing activities by the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), working with the Ministry of Tourism.
“We will see the traffic to that airport picking up, and it is not just the airport that the arrivals are expected to come to, but they will come to the resorts in that area. What is needed, therefore, is collaboration between the airport operator and the resorts, in order to create packages for the persons using that airport,” he suggested.
He noted that negotiations have been concluded with China, regarding air service arrangements between Jamaica and that country, as well as other areas in the Far East. He noted that, currently, the negotiation team is compiling its report to submit to the Government to cement the agreement.
Meanwhile, Colonel Derby said the JCAA is planning a number of activities in observance of 100 years of powered flights to Jamaica.
“To mark the Centenary of Powered Flights, we intend to hold a poster contest for children in three age group categories. The operators of Norman Manley and Sangster International Airports have been very receptive to the idea of displaying selected posters in the concourses of both airports,” he stated.
Concurrently, an essay contest on the ‘Significance of Air Transport to Jamaica’s Economy’ will be held for youth in the older age categories. Prizes will include a trip to the Smithsonian Institute, the world’s largest museum and research complex.
Two major activities that will be attempted are: the restoration of the old Seaplane Terminal, at Harbour Head, Kingston, into a museum, and the building of a replica of Seligman's Moisant Bleriot flyer, to be put on permanent display in the aviation museum.
The Civil Aviation Authority is a statutory organisation within the Ministry of Transport and Works, and regulates air navigation and all matters relating to safety and security in civil aviation.
By KADIAN BROWN, JIS PR Officer