October 1, 2001 Maya Island Air and Tropic Air have refused to land on the
airstrip at Caye Caulker. This is the same decision that was made regarding the
Corozal Airstrip approximately a month ago based on the fact that the airstrip
had "deteriorated to a state that safe operations can no longer take place."
With tourism already suffering and one destination destroyed, Caye Caulker
residents are said to be furious that they are not receiving
Information received revealed there are not only
pot holes but sink holes warping the runway as well. It was further reported at
some spots, the edges have eroded all the way to the middle of the airstrip.
Airline representatives state daily phone calls were made to the Civil Aviation
Authority (CAA) with no results, thus the decision was made to cease flights to
that destination. The airlines lament that a year ago Hurricane Keith did
extensive damage to the airstrip, Tropical Storm Chantal made worse an already
horrible situation and "now we are in the midst of rainy season."
In an interview with Efrain Gomez of the Civil Aviation
Authority it was learned that plans were made for the repairs and funds issued
for the project. He informed that Ministry of Works was contacted to perform the
task but was delayed by Hurricane Iris which hit southern Belize last week. Mr.
Gomez stated that the Caye Caulker Airstrip is not "officially closed." He
explained that reports made are followed up on and an inspection was performed.
CAA discovered the airstrip needed patching but did not deem it unsafe for
landing. He explained the remote location poses problems as materials and
equipment, when they are made available, need to be "barged out" to the
This information was confirmed
by a representative at the Ministry of Works who said they expect to be able to
start by the end of this week or early next week. Delays are said to be a result
of the rains brought by Hurricane Iris and that "dry stone is needed to lay
asphalt." According to the Ministry of Works, when the runway dries up the Caye
Caulker airstrip will be patched.