1. It is unlikely that there will ever be direct international flights to or from San Pedro except from very close destinations. The primary reason is the length of the runway. Cancun is 200 nautical miles from San Pedro, a relatively long distance that would require a specialized high speed commuter airliner. Since such an aircraft would necessarily be a twin engine, commercial twin engine aircraft are required to reach flying speed and lose an engine and either get airborne or come to a complete stop in a certain distance. This is called the "balance field length". San Pedro is 3000 ft long which is more than enough for anything from a twin otter (which is a short landing and take off aircraft) or any of the aircraft that take off here, but would be way too short for any of the afore mentioned high speed commercial twins. The existing ramp space is also limiting . And finally, it makes more sense for a small government to concentrate all its international flights through one airport for commercial and security reasons.
2. The category 1 or category 2 (compliant or non-compliant) ratings are issued by the American FAA and rate the countries ability to provide oversight. They do not rate the airlines nor do they care about flights that do not touch the United States. Any of the Belizean airlines could fly to Mexico by simply negotiating this right with the Mexicans.
3. Jet fuel storage is not an issue. It is essentially the same as diesel which is stored and dispensed in San Pedro with no problem. Once again space would be an issue with the airstrip.
4. The local airlines depart to the SW because in the event of an engine failure there are better emergency landing sites. It also lessens the noise pollution over the center of town.
5. Finally, Tropic and Maya's permission to fly into Guatemala was suspended by their former director of civil aviation for political and personal reasons. Tropic Air was recently approached by the new director to begin flights again. Once again, Belize's American non compliant oversite rating had nothing to do with the suspension of this service.
John E Greif III
Future full time Belizeans
Tommy & Sonia Blackledge
Magee, MS 601-849-1918