on the Corozal airstrip once again last Wednesday, following Civil Aviation
Authority (CAA) repairs to make the runway safe. Local airlines had boycotted
the Corozal destination last week as a result of deteriorating conditions.
Although this was a positive gesture on the part of the CAA, other Belize
airstrips in destinations throughout the country are currently being evaluated.
In order of severity, Punta Gorda, Dangriga and Caye Caulker may be the next
runways avoided because of safety hazards.
week, it was learned the inconvenience of cancelled flights may extend to
include evening flights to San Pedro as well. According to one local airline
representative, runway lights at the San Pedro Aerodrome are not operating
properly. This is reportedly a major result of lights being damaged by "joy
riding" on the airstrip. The lights currently being used are substandard to
those used in heavily trafficked airstrips and are
more appropriate for "a farmer's landing
strip-used once a month." The more reliable and sturdy type of landing lights
needed may cost as much as $70,000, an item supposedly not "in the budget"
"The runway lights bought us an
extra thirty minutes of flying time," stated Tropic Air's Johnny Greif III. This
is more than a convenience for tourists. Runway lights are essential for
emergency landings and evacuations to be possible after dark," he
The potential for travelers being stranded at
the International Airport again looms on the horizon. International flights that
arrive late from Miami and Dallas in the United States prompt delayed
connections to San Pedro. If runway lights are not replaced and runway
conditions not improved, neither Maya Island or Tropic Air may be available for
the large number of passengers awaiting transfer to Belize's many tourist
destinations, including "La Isla Bonita."