The Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation is proposing what is known as an Aviation Hub City for Belize. The idea, according to Minister Andre Perez, is to prioritize the economic importance of the country within the context of regional aviation. The proposal was pitched to Cabinet on Tuesday and was well received.� As a result, a ministerial working group made up of the Minister of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation, the Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, and the Minister of Finance has been tasked with putting together a plan which will include a feasibility study for the proposed Aviation Hub City.� News Five spoke via Zoom with Minister Andre Perez, who provided additional details on the initiative.

Andre Perez, Minister of Civil Aviation

"The most important thing that we have to understand now is that it is basically a concept, a concept as we plan for the next fifteen, twenty years for civil aviation, in what direction we're going.� It's about high time that we be a government that needs to lift up our heads and see what's ahead for the future.� We do know that we keep on talking about this rhetoric that, you know, Belize is strategically located and we call ourselves the bridge between Central America and the Caribbean.� That is something that we keep on talking and as it relates to trade and other different ways that we do get along with our region, there's much to be desired other than just trading more with Central America than the Caribbean.� So we are saying that with aviation that there is potential and in direct talks with Belize being a member of ICAO which is the International Civil Aviation Organization, they, themselves, are telling is that Central America is a strategic location to establish, perhaps, an air cargo hub.� Now where that is going to be if we are to pursue that avenue, it can either be that the PGIA, to expand on that as it relates to air cargo, or to find different places.� We don't know.� What we do know is that we must take advantage of these opportunities that are coming by.� Whether we choose to go down that path, it is up to us to seize on that opportunity to start the plans.� It can either be Belize or other Central American countries, so we have to pounce on that opportunity.� And that was my presentation this week in Cabinet, that we ought to look at that plan, that concept that is going to be for the next ten, fifteen, twenty years."

Proposal for Aviation Hub City is Well-received by Cabinet

According to the Minister of Civil Aviation, to every dollar that is made from employment in the aviation industry, five dollars is generated.�

Andre Perez, Minister of Civil Aviation

"First of all this presentation was in the Cabinet and it was well-received in the Cabinet and they said well, we should pursue it.� And we came to an agreement as well, as much as we take tourism, as much as we take agriculture as national priorities, we were able to drive that message that indeed aviation should play� that role there as well, as part of our national priority.� And if we look at the figures, it speaks for itself and it's factual out there.� For every, especially in Central America, for every dollar that is created from jobs in aviation, it generates almost five dollars.� One job that is created directly from aviation can create as much as eight to nine other job positions in Central America.� So taking all of these into consideration, showing the facts to Cabinet, the prime minister asked us to form a task group led by myself, including the Minister of Tourism and the Minister of Finance.� So we are going to have, we have a deadline of four weeks to get together and come up with a road map, if you want to say that, and draft up the terms of reference where the possibility that we can pursue in terms of funding because obviously it's going to take a lot of funding; however, it is a long-term vision.� That is the most important thing, it's that we have to start as of now.� It is not something that we're going to be doing for the next two, three years."

The Minister of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation also provided an update on technical support that has been committed to Belize by COCESSNA, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration ahead of the 2023 International Civil Aviation Organization audits.

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