Failure by Belize's Gov't causing Civil Aviation to lose momentum
the Reporter Sunday, 02 December 2007

Although substantial progress has been made in the area of airworthiness for Belize's surging aircraft passenger service, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has stopped short of giving its approval for international flights.

That is why Guatemala has barred further flights from Belize into Flores, a popular route for tourists who want to visit the great Maya ruins of Tikal.

Both Tropic Air and Maya Island Air are affected by the ban.

The last Executive Summary by ICAO notes that although individual airlines have made progress to enhance airworthiness and passenger safety, it is the Government of Belize which is lagging behind, by failing to pass legislation to regulate civil aviation in Belize. Regulations have no validity because there is no enabling legislation to support them.

The report notes that the draft Civil Aviation Act has not yet been approved. It notes also that the draft legislation does not clearly establish the powers, duties and functions of the Department of Civil Aviation and points out that the draft Act contradicts itself and does not clearly establish who will have authority to approve Civil Aviation Regulations.

Furthermore it says the civil aviation regulations (which already exist) are "only a draft without legal validity".

The report notes that although some improvements in the personnel licensing area have been achieved since 2001, air traffic controllers in Belize are not required to undergo a medical assessment. This is a flaw which is in direct contravention of the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order of 1977.

The report notes that the Department of Civil Aviation is still underfunded by the government of Belize, and there are no certified air operators in Belize.

This "limits the ability of the Department to recruit, retain and train inspectors", the ICAO says.