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Tropic Air and Maya Island suspend Caye Caulker Flights #525792
09/12/17 01:27 PM
09/12/17 01:27 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
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Press Release – Tropic Air Ltd./Maya Island Air – September 12, 2017 – Tropic Air and Maya Island Air hereby inform the public of the suspension of all scheduled flights to the island of Caye Caulker effective October 1, 2017.

The present state of the runway at the island’s airstrip exhibits severe deterioration. As a result, this precautionary measure is necessary to avoid safety and operational challenges beyond acceptable margins for public flight service.

This information has been shared with the Belize Airports Authority and Caye Caulker’s Village Council accompanied by a request for urgent renovation of the runway in order to meet the island’s approaching tourism high season.

Air service will resume to Caye Caulker immediately after completion of necessary renovation works to rehabilitate the island’s airstrip.

Travelers with itineraries, reservations or tickets to Caye Caulker should contact their respective carrier for information regarding the status of the journey and available alternatives to reach this popular island destination.

Re: Tropic Air and Maya Island suspend Caye Caulker Flights [Re: Marty] #525801
09/13/17 04:50 AM
09/13/17 04:50 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 81,048
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

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Tropic Air and Maya Growl, GOB Responds

Today, Tropic Air and Maya Airlines put out a very rare joint press release saying they were suspending all scheduled flights to Caye Caulker effective October 1, 2017.

They say that this is following up on request for urgent renovation of the runway to meet the island's approaching tourism high season.

Service will resume after repairs are made.

Well, by news time the Belize Airports Authority fired off a press release saying help is on the way. The Release says that it is in the final stages of securing funding form the Social Security Board to begin reconstruction of the runway.

The project will cost over 7 million dollars and has been in the design state since 2016. Bid are being evaluated and that should be finished by the end of this week.

Channel 7

Belize Airports Authority to Secure Funding for the Reconstruction of the Caye Caulker Municipal Airport

The Belize Airports Authority (BAA) is pleased to announce that it is in the final stages of securing the necessary funding from the Social Security Board (SSB) to begin the reconstruction of the runway at the Caye Caulker Municipal Airport.

In 2016, the Belize Airports Authority engaged consultants to conduct feasibility studies for the repairs of the municipal airport in Caye Caulker. Based on the results of the study, the BAA subsequently took the decision to reconstruct the facility in line with the long-term vision of the Authority. Hence, a comprehensive design was commissioned.

The design is now complete and contractors have submitted bids for the construction works. The rigorous bid evaluation process is ongoing and expected to be completed on or before September 15, 2017.

The scope of works for the renovation of the Caye Caulker Municipal Airport will entail the reconstruction of the runway which will be elevated by approximately 0.7m over the existing one and widened from 12w to 18m. The surface will be paved with hot-mix asphalt. Other works will include the reconstruction and expansion of the apron with provisions for several hangers; marking of the runway and apron; construction of proper drainage of the facility; construction of a shore protection system; the installation of runway lights among other security and safety features and other amenities.

The BAA has been working with air operators and other stakeholders, inclusive of the Belize Department of Civil Aviation and the DOE, which recently granted environmental clearance for the project, to sensitize all the concerned about the scope of the project.

In addition, meetings with the Caye Caulker Village Council and the local BTIA are being coordinated.

Funding with SSB is being negotiated and update on approval is envisioned to happen by the end of this month. September, 2017.

The project is estimated to cost just over BZ$7 million and is expected to begin in October. It will take approximately 8 months to complete.

Under the BM Act Chapter 238 of the Laws of the BAA is empowered to prescribe and regulate traffic and conditions as well as all essential services and facilities necessary for the efficient operation of all airports in Belize, including international and municipal airports.

Re: Tropic Air and Maya Island suspend Caye Caulker Flights [Re: Marty] #525821
09/14/17 06:17 AM
09/14/17 06:17 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 81,048
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

Marty  Online Happy OP

Maya, Tropic Adamant over Caye Caulker Flight Suspension; Repairs Will Take Months

Both local airlines, Maya and Tropic Air, have announced the suspension of flights to Caye Caulker beginning this October.  The airstrip at La Isla Carinosa is in terrible state with potholes and ridges which make it dangerous to maneuver the landing of aircrafts. It is projected that it will take eight months to complete repair works which means that the tourism destination will not be accessible by air for months. So will this impact the island? News Five’s Isani Cayetano finds out.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The utter state of disrepair of the asphalt runway at the Caye Caulker Airstrip has forced both Maya Island Air and its competitor, Tropic Air, to discontinue flights to that destination as of the end of September.  The landing strip at the southern end of the island is in deplorable condition and presents a hazard for aircrafts coming into and leaving the aerodrome.

On the Phone: John Greif III, President, Tropic Air

“There are only two real problems with the runway itself, but they’re big ones.  The ground that the airport was built on sinks and so the runway has undulations in it.  So the pilots already have to land at a certain place and avoid this and stop before that, to keep from making a rollercoaster ride out of the takeoff or the landing.  That was manageable, but what has simply become unmanageable is that about every ten or fifteen years these asphalt runways have got to be resurfaced and the time is up for Caye Caulker, so there are potholes and ridges and essentially obstacles in the way.  So the pilot can’t dodge both, he can’t dodge the ups and the downs and the potholes and the deterioration in the runway.”

Those difficulties have prompted a suspension in air traffic to and from the island pending the repair and upgrade of the landing strip.  Orlando Magana is with the Belize Airports Authority.  That body is tasked with overseeing the upkeep of those facilities.

Orlando Magaña, Administrative Manager, BAA

“The runway is in a really bad state, that Tropic and Maya have issued a press release [stating] that they will stop operations commencing October first.  But even prior to them issuing this press release we have been in negotiations with the Belize Social Security Board to acquire financing to repair and renovate and uplift because of the Caye Caulker aerodrome, I believe, is the third most trafficked aerodrome in the country.”

That’s on account of the tourism industry.  A majority of flights heading to and leaving from the island are indeed booked by visitors to the country.  Despite consultations with the relevant government agencies, both carriers have decided that they will no longer risk a problematic landing.

On the Phone: John Greif III

“We have been in consultation with the Department of Civil Aviation and the Belize Airports Authority and they knew that we were closing, so I think they had sped up their plans to do some renovation there.  But the industry just couldn’t wait any longer, we had to put a cap on our operations there for safety reasons.”

Isani Cayetano

“Now the proposed project will take a maximum of eight months before it completes.  What happens in the interim, in terms of you guys losing money from the suspension of flights to the island?”

On the Phone: John Greif III

“Well, the bigger problem is what happens to the commuters and to the tourists that need to go there.  Caye Caulker is well served by both from the municipal for the commuters but I don’t think it’s that very well served or not served at all from Goldson for the tourists.  So that’s something that really has us at Tropic perplexed about what alternative service do we offer people that have already bought tickets on the airline.”

Realizing that the inconvenience will directly affect the tourism industry, the Belize Airports Authority is already looking at ways in which it can expedite the renovation project by reducing its timeline.

Orlando Magana

“Tourism is increasing every year so we need to have these facilities up to standards, up to international standards.  So based on those considerations it’s being a full investment of about seven million [dollars] is being proposed to uplift and to renovate the aerodrome at Caye Caulker.”

Isani Cayetano

“Talk to us about the timeline and the scope of work and priorities that fall under that particular timeline to get this runway up and running again.”

Orlando Magaña

“Well as soon as the loan gets approval from social security, works will commence immediately and the proposed time limit for everything is approximately eight months.  The runway being the one that needs the most attention, will be dealt with first.  So the contractor, whoever is contracted to do the works will, we will negotiate with the contractor to see how best we can do the runway first in as least down time as possible.”

With progress comes problems.  The improvement of the airfield on Caye Caulker is much needed, but for the duration of the project residents, those who either commute daily by domestic flights or those in the travel business, are the ones who will be inconvenienced by the suspension.

On the Phone: John Greif III

“As far as affecting our profitability, it really doesn’t because Caye Caulker, in the airline business, is what we call a flag stop so when there are people there we drop off and pick up and when there aren’t we don’t.  So it really, if we don’t have people to pick up in Caye Caulker we just backfill the flight from San Pedro or Municipal.  So the economic impact on the airline is minimal, but the economic impact on the island would be substantial, I would think.”

Channel 5

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