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Gov't to spend $2.3b to improve aviation safety, security

Monday, March 24, 2014    

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THE Government will be spending $2.3 billion (US$22 million) over the next two years to improve aviation safety and security, by upgrading or replacing ageing technology in keeping with international standards.

This was disclosed by Director General of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Leroy Lindsay, in an interview with JIS News.

Lindsay, who has been at the helm of the JCAA for four months, said Jamaica is currently ranked 10 per cent above the criteria for international compliance, in terms of best practices and standards outlined by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

He said this ranking is a vast improvement over the previous 2007 ranking of 30 per cent of the compliance requirements, and that the authority is working assiduously to maintain compliance with the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation.

The JCAA director general said Jamaica will stand out in the Caribbean in terms of its oversight of the aviation industry, and outlined some of the steps that the authority will be embarking on to maintain a high standard of performance.

"Regarding air navigation services, we will be replacing all dated technology, so that we will, in the next two or three years, have even better technology and equipment than our friends to the north of us. We hope, for example, to have Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipment, which will give us satellite surveillance of aircraft by 2017. The USA will have that commissioned in 2020 and the UK will have it commissioned in 2018," he noted.

He anticipates that Controller Pilot Data Link Communications, which is automatic communication between the air traffic control systems and the aircraft systems, should also be in place by 2017. This, he said, gives air traffic controllers the ability to do "less controlling and more monitoring, which will make the skies safer."

Lindsay indicated that the dated radar equipment will be replaced, and that requests for proposals have already gone out for the acquisition of the new radars and approximately 26 site surveys have been done ahead of the bids. He noted that the authority will be implementing environmentally-friendly measures for Jamaica's airspace, that are in keeping with Priority Based Navigation in the ICAO Global Navigation Plan.

These include Continuous Descent Approach (CDA), and Continuous Climb Operations (CCO). The CDA is designed to reduce fuel consumption and noise, as the descent is done at a smooth constant angle, instead of the step down approach, where the aircraft throttles down and permission is requested to descend to each new level. The CCO is the outgoing equivalent of the CDA.

The director general said Jamaica's air traffic controllers have gone through the necessary training to facilitate a flow management system, that can separate and space aircraft accordingly.

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